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Johnson Controls helps Merced College invest in sustainability and student experience

• Project guarantees $6.4 million in cost savings in support of the college’s commitment to sustainability and operational efficiency
• Electrical renovation improves learning and working environments at Merced College while addressing deferred maintenance
• First-of-its-kind project in California through a contingent payment program
• Reinforces Johnson Controls commitment for Healthy People, Healthy Places and a Healthy Planet

MILWAUKEE –March 9, 2021- Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI), the global leader for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, is proud to announce its partnership with Merced College, a community college located in Merced, California. As a leader in the building space for 135 years, Johnson Controls’ mission is to reimagine building performance and deliver Healthy Buildings that contribute to healthier people, healthier places and a healthier planet. To support the college’s initiative to improve sustainability and student experience, Johnson Controls will manage the design, procurement and installation of energy-efficient lighting and central plant retrofits, and upgrades to the campus’ building automation system (BAS) and mechanical systems.

Merced College

Notably, this is the first project enabled by a contingent payment program (CPP) in the state of California. A CPP is an alternative to traditional debt financing, which fully transfers risk to Johnson Controls and offsets the total project costs of $3.7 million. The sustainable improvements will enhance the learning and working environment for students, faculty and staff while guaranteeing operations and maintenance (O&M) savings of $6.4 million over a 20-year period.  

“In making these campus-wide improvements, Merced College will maximize operational efficiency and sustainability, all while creating cost savings that can be redirected elsewhere,” said Jason Culver, account executive, higher education at Johnson Controls. “And by taking advantage of a CPP, they can reduce the amount of bond funding needed for their renovation without compromising on innovation or performance.”

The college’s existing central plant was nearing the end of its life, resulting in a significant increase in service calls and a greater risk of campus shutdowns due to chiller failures. These potential shutdowns would disrupt student and faculty productivity and require costly repairs. By installing a new chiller and refurbishing two existing chillers and cooling towers, integrating OpenBlue Central Plant Optimization® (CPO) software will allow the college to address deferred maintenance while improving efficiency. OpenBlue CPO collects up-to-the-minute data and applies predictive algorithms to help plant operators stage equipment and select set points to achieve maximum cost savings.

“Merced College seeks to ensure our facilities and technology planning are aligned with sustainable and efficient industry standards,” said Chris Vitelli, Ed.D., president, Merced College. “Johnson Controls partnership, support and resources will help lead these efforts and ensure we have more productive and efficient strategies to serve our students better.”

Joe Allison, vice president, finance and business administration, Merced College adds, “Merced College continues to pursue data-driven operational efficiencies while also maintaining positive cash flows with limited risk. Our partnership with Johnson Controls benefits our campus community by enhancing our energy conservation efforts, as well as providing much-needed equipment upgrades and repairs.”

To take advantage of the central plant improvements and compound the energy savings, Johnson Controls will retro-commission the existing Metasys® System. In addition to the central plant updates, Johnson Controls will make interior LED and stadium lighting upgrades. In total, the project will reduce the campus’ carbon dioxide emissions by 781 tons per year, furthering the college’s sustainability mission.

“We’ve seen that lighting has an incredible impact on the learning environment, helping students and faculty remain productive and ultimately driving academic achievement,” said Culver. “Merced College is known for its incredible workforce development and training programs, and exemplary student achievement. By upgrading campus environments with advanced LED lighting and continuing to deliver an optimal space for education, Merced College is investing in the student experience for current and future generations.”

To learn more about how Johnson Controls can help improve campus environments, click here. For more information about Merced College, visit:

Media Contact:

Anne Lines – Matter on behalf of Johnson Controls

Work + 1 978-518-4512 // [email protected]

Johnson Controls

Kellie Harris – Director, Public Relations and Media

Work + 1 733-294-4753 // [email protected]


About Johnson Controls
At Johnson Controls, we transform the environments where people live, work, learn and play. From optimizing building performance to improving safety and enhancing comfort, we drive the outcomes that matter most. We deliver our promise in industries such as healthcare, education, data centers and manufacturing. With a global team of 105,000 experts in more than 150 countries and over 130 years of innovation, we are the power behind our customers’ mission. Our leading portfolio of building technology and solutions includes some of the most trusted names in the industry, such as Tyco®, YORK®, Metasys®, Ruskin®, Titus®, Frick®, Penn®, Sabroe®, Simplex®, Ansul® and Grinnell®. For more information, visit or follow us @johnsoncontrols on Twitter.

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