In 2014, Bennington College took part in an Efficiency Vermont pilot study on high performance circulator pumps, to increase the efficiency of their campus heating system.
Traditional circulator pumps, used in tandem with hot water boilers to move heated water, operate at a single speed regardless of demand. High-performance circulator pumps use higher-efficiency motors and vary their speed to provide only the level of pumping required.
Along with the pump upgrade, Efficiency Vermont installed temporary submeters throughout the Bennington campus, to establish baseline data and monitor the pumps’ performance. The data from the submeters led to the recalibration of a number of pumps, increasing their initial energy performance. Overall, electricity consumption for pumping was reduced by 85%.
Not only was the pump upgrade a success, the process demonstrated the value of submetering. Without it, the full potential for savings may never have been realized. Bennington College has since invested in a permanent installation of submeters throughout the campus, to use in ongoing sustainability efforts.