2015 Finalist: The Smooth Operator

The most improved building across multiple sustainability categories achieved solely through improved operations and maintenance and/or retrocommissioning.

Who led the charge

Eric Lessne                                    Associate Director of Planning and Engineering, Connecticut Board of Regents


Lessne, an avid outdoorsman and a talented musician, is passionate about energy efficiency as a way to mitigate climate change. He has managed the installation of 100 kilowatts of P/V solar power at SCSU as well as five major lighting projects. Under Lessne’s aegis, all new construction on campus must meet at least LEED Silver certification. Along with the Adanti Student Center, these projects will save the University more than $1 million in energy costs by 2019.


  • If you’re tackling energy consumption for a group of buildings, start your efficiency assessment in those with the longest operating hours and/or highest operating costs
  • Building automation system settings for a large facility can be complex; use software and monitoring tools, such as Seldera, to diagnose system faults
  • Find unique ways (such as a revolving fund) to support your sustainability projects


Student Center Pursues a Major in Sustainability


Like many of the students that frequent it, the Michael J. Adanti Student Center (ASC) at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) keeps late hours and can be expensive to support. So optimizing the building’s operational performance wasn’t easy, particularly with the state making cuts to higher-education budgets. 

The school’s Sustainability Coordinator, Suzanne Huminski, had an innovative solution: establish of a revolving fund, seeded with utility rebates from completed energy efficiency projects. This fund could in turn finance additional energy efficiency projects. 

To decide what to do, the Student Center was monitored for over a year using software tools from Seldera bore out officials’ worst fears; there were numerous building automation system (BAS) faults and configuration issues, including a chilled-water system that didn’t shut down when the outside temperature alone could cool water, as well as air handling units running off schedule. 

Once the SCSU made adjustments, the results were immediate. "Savings are nearly double the anticipated $40,000 a year in operation savings," explains Huminski.

The Adanti Student Center now helps students pull all-nighters, without keeping its systems running 24 hours a day. Savings mean the Center pays for itself, and other improvements–sustainability officials are using the rebate for the ASC project to recommission at least three campus buildings.

"To help ensure a sustainable funding mechanism for accelerating energy efficiency in the future, we now channel all utility rebates into a revolving fund for sustainability projects that we can apply going forward."


CLOSE UP: Adanti Student Center

What did we do?
The team recommissioned the Adanti Student Center for optimal energy consumption.

Why we did it: 
High operating costs called for a plan to save energy, streamline operations, and reduce the building’s environmental footprint, especially in light of growing budget constraints.

Our Approach: 
After careful monitoring, the team made recommended changes using a revolving fund to pay for the project.



  • Four-month payback
  • New funding system for future retrofit projects
  • In first six months, total weather-normalized savings exceeded 303,000 kWh
  • Annual savings exceed $90,000