Infrastructure Improvement Project Creates Energy-Efficiency In Historic Campus Buildings

Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa improves energy efficiencies through a Contingent Payment Program (CPP)

MILWAUKEE – (July 2, 2020) – Johnson Controls partnership with Iowa’s Cornell College has completed upgrades to the campus’ original two buildings, College Hall (1857) and Old Sem (1853). Teams of contractors have spent May and June replacing over 150 new windows, helping to make campus buildings more energy efficient.

“This is a really neat adventure, having the capacity to preserve these beautiful structures and to understand the historical value of these buildings,” said Cornell College Project Manager, Scott Ladwig. “This work helps preserve the legacy of these iconic buildings, not just for the campus, but for the entire community.”

The large-scale window project is part of a $5.9 million infrastructure improvement plan with Johnson Controls, which has its North American headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The plan will reduce the college’s energy usage by 20 percent. The overall project also included installing high-efficiency boilers to remove the final eight buildings from the campus steam plant, completed in November 2019, and upgrading nearly every campus building with LED lighting, completed in March 2020.

“We’re proud of the progress made by our dedicated crews on campus,” said Aaron Rittenhouse, Midwest Program Leader for Johnson Controls. “As we complete the scope of work for this project, funding through a Contingent Payment Program from Johnson Controls will improve building efficiencies without impacting existing debt covenants and credit ratings. This directly supports the performance of students, faculty and staff by providing safer and more comfortable environments. We look forward to future innovative projects with Cornell College.”

The agreement with Johnson Controls guarantees that infrastructure upgrades will produce savings that repay the company for project costs over time, which does not require any traditional loans. Instead, Cornell pays Johnson Controls based on measured and verified results through a funding structure known as contingent payment funding. As a result, the infrastructure improvements do not impact any of the college’s existing debt covenants or obligations.

The project improves the aging campus infrastructure and significantly reduces operations and maintenance costs. That means Cornell upgrades its infrastructure and becomes more energy-efficient without upfront costs. Old Sem was the first building constructed on campus. College Hall was the second. As history goes, no architect was retained for the construction of College Hall. Instead, a committee consisting of faculty and trustees planned the project. Students also assisted in the construction by assisting the master craftsmen.

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Anne Lines
Matter on behalf of Johnson Controls
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Ryan Nolan
Global Public Relations Program Manager
Building Technologies & Solutions, Johnson Controls
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