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Customer Stories

Central Piedmont Community College

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Industry: Higher Education

Products Used: Controls, Chillers, Air Handling,

Services Used: Energy Analysis & Monitoring, Energy Efficiency Contracting, Upgrading,

Topic: Sustainability, Efficiency, Cost-Saving, Optimal Comfort,

Central Piedmont Community College hero.jpg


As Central Piedmont Community College continued to increase its enrollment and expand its campuses, the school sought to upgrade its infrastructure to help ensure an optimal learning environment for students. Challenged by budget constraints, the college also wished to reduce energy and operational costs to improve building performance, while implementing conservation measures in alignment with its sustainability goals.


Responding to CPCC’s request for proposal (RFP), Trane was selected through a competitive bidding process to work with the college on the upgrade project. With an excellent knowledge base of all CPCC campuses, and as well the needs of the college’s critical facilities, Trane had become a trusted advisor for the institution’s existing building and new construction guidance.

Leveraging future energy savings

CPCC entered into Phase I of a Performance Agreement for Comfort from Trane (PACT) focused on improvements to their Central Campus. The PACT allowed the community college to leverage future energy savings to finance infrastructure upgrades, without applying upfront capital. The guaranteed energy savings contract provided a landscape for Trane to work closely with CPCC’s Facilities Services to develop strategic energy-saving building improvements. Trane conducted feasibility studies and proposed energy conservation measures (ECMs) strategically aligned with the college’s critical facility needs, energy savings objectives and sustainability goals.

ECMs completed on CPCC’s Central Campus as part of Phase I of the Trane performance contract resulted in more than $380,000 in energy savings in the first year. Based on this initial success, the community college entered into a second performance contract with Trane, covering thirty buildings on six CPCC campuses.

Enhancing efficiency of critical missions
An important aspect of Phase II of the performance contract was the upgrading of the community college’s data center to improve and protect the critical missions of the school. The school’s existing servers were replaced with high-efficiency data servers. The upgrades provide for more effective IT service, while reducing operational costs.

Reducing energy costs and water consumption
Phase II of the project also included retrofitting more than 18,000 lighting fixtures across six school campuses with more efficient lighting. Occupancy sensors were added in some areas to turn light fixtures off in unoccupied spaces.

Traditional water conservation measures were duplicated across the CPCC locations for domestic water savings. The improvements included retrofitting existing fixtures with low flow devices, water saving measures for ice makers and cooling tower net metering to reduce sewer costs.

Integrating controls
A Trane Tracer Summit™ building automation system (BAS) was integrated with existing controls to deliver significant standardization of existing building controls and sequences to enable more effective comfort and energy management. The BAS provides the college with access to all control systems via an internet web interface to manage climate, lighting and energy consumption. Facility managers use the BAS for scheduling and to respond to alarms, view reports, implement custom programming and perform other daily tasks.


Phase I measurement and verification (M&V) results show that upgrades implemented on Central Piedmont Community College’s Central Campus have resulted in energy savings of more than $799,500 in the first two years of the Trane performance contract, exceeding the savings guarantee by 11 percent in year one and 19 percent in year two. CPCC continues to aggressively decrease energy intensity per campus square foot, and reduce their carbon footprint.

“What I find exciting about the project is that as part of Trane’s due diligence, they looked at every piece of equipment, every input and every output,” said Pamela Metcalf, Director of Energy and Sustainability, CPCC. “The project provided us with 3.5 million sq ft of fully re-commissioned campus buildings.”

“Everybody at Trane was great to work with,” Metcalf added. “We had transparency, with meetings every other week. Everyone was very professional, very responsive. Plus, we get ongoing training every year to continue to improve.”