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Digitalization of Utility Energy Systems

June 02, 2022

University of Idaho sought an innovative solution to help optimize their steam plant and utility solutions. They found that solution through a public-private partnership (P3) that involves the long-term lease for operation of a university’s utility energy system. The 50-year agreement with the University of Idaho (U of I) is between Sacyr Infrastructure USA and Plenary Americas USA Ltd. McKinstry and Edo were hired to manage and operate the utility system, including chilled water, steam and condensate, electrical distribution, domestic water, compressed air, stormwater, sanitary sewer, and reclaimed water. A 50-year term is standard for P3 leases at universities. The long-term investment provides stability and consistency for investors, management, and the university.

The Edo Solution

Edo digitized the workflow at the U of Idaho. We transitioned the University from a paper-based manual tracking systems to a transparent digital system. The digital system allows for improved management of the utility system. Planning and scheduling can now be done in an informed manner, based on the insights gained from data analysis, shifting from reactive to predictive and proactive. These outcomes are possible because of Edo’s:

1. Centralized Operations Mode
Edo and McKinstry built a detailed digital model of the university to align all the asset data from various sources into a single unified data model for analysis and optimization of equipment operation. Edo’s dedicated maintenance planner and scheduler resource will continue to support the McKinstry team and grow the system to include additional telemetry on key assets to further advance the operational model.

2. 24/7 Remote Support Staff
Edo’s 24/7 customer success team coordinates, guides, and manages plant and distribution system issues that arise. The central utility plant serves over 274 campus buildings comprising 4.5 million square feet including 10 miles of electric distribution and utility tunnels that house 3 miles of steam, 7.5 miles of chilled water, and 50+ miles of water systems across the system in an effective and efficient manner.

3. Workflow Management
Edo provides a full suite of workflow management tools and services including technology solutions, playbooks, tools, operating procedures, and building expertise. Edo enables McKinstry to seamlessly implement, stabilize, optimize, and innovate a change & workflow management solution.|||

The project will result in:

• 50 years of continuous optimization of utility system operations
• Support biomass-fueled boiler operation which generates more than 90% of the campus’ steam
• Support operations of 3 backpressure turbine electric generators that will reduce 6% of the campus carbon footprint
• Safe and resilient utility systems to the 274 connected buildings on the 800 plus acre campus
• 1200+ work orders resolved annually
• 600+ pieces of critical equipment efficiently running through operational, proactive maintenance, and warranty management maintenance, and
warranty management
• 100+ facility operating service procedures and emergency response workflows developed