New  energy  (efficiency)  at  CNCC

John Boyd, president of Colorado Northwestern Community College, was all smiles as he prepared for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 12 to celebrate the college’s partnership with Chevron Energy Solutions.

John Boyd, president of Colorado Northwestern Community College, was all smiles as he prepared for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 12 to celebrate the college’s partnership with Chevron Energy Solutions.
John Boyd, president of Colorado Northwestern Community College, was all smiles as he prepared for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 12 to celebrate the college’s partnership with Chevron Energy Solutions.
RANGELY I No more using Bunsen burners to heat the science lab. No more issuing electric heaters to students to warm their dorm rooms. No more snowdrifts in hallways.
Thanks to a partnership with Chevron Energy Solutions, students and faculty at Colorado Northwestern Community College will be more comfortable this winter.
“This has been a great project for us,” CNCC President John Boyd said before last week’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, commemorating the completion of a $6.5 million energy efficiency upgrade on the Rangely campus.
Representatives of the college and Chevron, as well as community supporters, gathered Nov. 12 to do the ribbon-cutting honors.
Boyd said the teaming up of the college with Chevron Energy Solutions made for a good partnership.
“The great thing about the project is the team Chevron sent here, we appreciate this team,” Boyd said. “There was a trust factor that was built, that we knew there was no smoke, there was no agenda, other than making this campus the best it could be, with the finances we had available.”
The college used a variety of funding sources on the project.
“This is a very complicated financial process we put together, because it wasn’t state funded,” Boyd said. “The reality is we had about five or six different funding mechanisms. … Everybody makes the assumption when you do an energy audit, that it’s self-funded. That portion of this $6.5 million project was $1.2 million, in that ballpark. So as a college … we were looking at a 47-year-old boiler system that every time you put pressure on the steam pipes, they broke somewhere. To fix what we needed to fix, meant a much larger project.”
Again, Boyd said, Chevron proved a helpful partner.
“Chevron helped us all the way through the process, with doing the financing package,” the CNCC president said. “We borrowed about half, and we raised about half. Because of changes in the economy, prices dropped, which meant we could get a lot more (for the money).”
John Mahoney, Chevron’s chief operating officer, returned the compliment, thanking the CNCC president for his vision and leadership.
“There was a point in this project where I wasn’t sure whether this team was working for me, Chevron, or for Dr. Boyd,” Mahoney joked. “When they started bringing their sleeping bags up here, I really started to wonder.”
Mahoney said the goal of the project was “to make it a more comfortable and safer learning environment for the students, for the faculty, for everybody involved with this college, which I sense is really important to the community.”
Added Mahoney, “At Chevron, we believe the best way to reduce your carbon footprint is conservation through energy efficiency.”
Last week’s ribbon cutting was the culmination of a project that has been in the works for a while.
“This has been a long project,” said CNCC President Boyd. “We started on this project about three years ago. It really goes back to Jeff Devere (current CNCC dean of support services) and when he was working with the town.”
While going through the process, Boyd said the college and Chevron developed a close working relationship.
“There was a trust factor you don’t generally have with a contractor,” Boyd said. “That really became evident as part of the process. I can be difficult sometimes, I know that. I asked a lot of questions. Dollars are very important to me, and knowing exactly what we are getting for our dollars is very important to me. And they went out of their way that I was at a comfort level where I needed to be at.”
The original price tag for the project was around $10 million.
“There were things, financially, we couldn’t do,” Boyd said. “Getting advice from (Chevron) on what was our best bang for our dollars, that number leveled off at about $6.5 million. That’s a lot of money, I don’t care what terms you look at it in. But when you look at it in the terms of operating budget, it equals our annual operating budget. I’m gonna guess there’s nobody else in Colorado that has that percentage of its general fund budget, and to be able to do that.”
Bottom line, Boyd said, “ The value we got out of this process … we got a lot more than what we expected.”