WINNER: Steven Corson for
J. Wayne Reitz Student Union (FL)

Categories: Power to the People

Who led the charge

Steven Corson
Energy Services Leader, Trane/Ingersoll Rand

Steve Corson has more than two decades of experience developing energy management, energy savings performance contracting, and mechanical retrofit projects across industries that include: hospitality, government K-12 education, commercial offices, performing arts centers, and universities throughout the United States and Caribbean. A member of BOMA and AEE, Steve is LEED AP and has consulted with building owners on the implementation of the LEED design process.

Strong groundwork meant a retrofit at the University of Florida could cut energy use while increasing square footage.

With over 110,000 sf of new space slated to be added to the J. Wayne Reitz Union, the time was ripe to include a range of sustainability upgrades to the over 50-year-old student center. The project was billed as a guaranteed energy savings performance contract, which reduced the need for upfront capital investment by promising reduced energy expenses after work was done.

But how do you guarantee performance on a retrofit when you’re increasing the square footage by a third at the same time? Energy modeling served as a measurement and verification tool, which has proven to be the right choice to handle the significant complexities of the changing space in this case, says Corson.

Work on the space—which includes a bookstore, welcome center, parking garage, student union, career resource center, food service, ballrooms, and even a hotel—was ambitious. A complete LED retrofit, chiller plant replacement, upgrades and replacements to ventilation systems including VAV boxes and air handling units, automated controls, and more helped cut energy use by over 50%.


  • Folded a 60,000-sf renovation into a 110,000-sf expansion of the University of Florida’s student center
  • Used energy modeling to predict energy usage on the guaranteed energy savings performance contract
  • Took a holistic approach to retrofits, including lighting, chillers, ventilation, automation, and more