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Johnson Controls transforms Samford University infrastructure with $30.4M of campus-wide improvements

Samford University, Alabama’s top-ranked private university, will undergo $30.4M of campus-wide improvements. Photo by Samford University.


New campus chilled water plant, new windows and modernized building automation system are among the upgrades enabled by contingent payment program

Johnson Controls has helped to improve the infrastructure of Samford University (Samford) in Birmingham, Alabama in order to provide a safe, comfortable and nurturing environment where students live, learn and grow. The operational efficiencies achieved through these upgrades are providing the university with a financial mechanism to support the campus-wide project, known as the Campus Infrastructure Improvement Plan. The first phase of the program included the new campus chilled water plant, with full updates expected to be complete by February 2019.

The partnership has helped Samford balance the challenges of aging and inefficient equipment and facilities with budget priorities and competing capital investment. The $30.4M of capital improvements are enabled by an innovative contingent payment program, which redirects the costs of maintenance along with actualized cost savings to fund projects. The university manages all costs in order for tuition to remain affordable. In addition to the chilled water plant modernization, a comprehensive list of the planned projects includes:

• Lighting upgrades
• Domestic water conservation
• Building envelope
• Window replacements
• Piping insulation
• Metasys® upgrades
• Controls and mechanical improvements
• Heating venting air conditioning (HVAC) improvements
• Electrical improvements
• Domestic hot water equipment upgrades
• Hot water system improvements

“Replacing the chiller plant that provides cooling to the central, west and north campus was not optional, but it did give us an opportunity to look at other systems and efficiencies at a time when Samford can financially structure a solution that eliminates significant cash outlays and provides long-term cash flow stability,” said Kimberly Sessions Brown, Ed.D, associate vice president for operations and campus initiatives, business and financial affairs, Samford University. “This project with Johnson Controls is a comprehensive solution designed to leverage future energy cost savings to fund much-needed facility improvements today which will ultimately help provide the best possible campus for students and faculty.”

During the first six months of the Campus Infrastructure Improvement Plan, Samford achieved an overall savings of $1,041,484. This is $38,228 above the guaranteed benefits required by the program. A large portion of the savings was due to the new chilled water plant, which consumed less than 40 percent of the energy that was required to operate the old plant.

“When we formed this strategic partnership with Samford, we agreed on specific goals and objectives by which to measure the overall success of the project, and we’re pleased that the new chilled water plant has helped the university accomplish one of our initial goals of improving the mechanical infrastructure,” said Michael Migliaccio, Performance InfrastructureTM, business development leader, Johnson Controls. “In the next phase, we look forward to seeing how full upgrades will enhance the instructional atmosphere and further demonstrate Samford University’s commitment to the well-being of its students, faculty and community.”

The final stage of the project is focused on operational efficiencies, with the implementation of new Metasys® building automation system (BAS) controls as a main component. The Metasys® BAS will help Samford’s facilities team to properly schedule space conditions to create a positive learning environment, reduce energy consumption and identify maintenance needs before they become a problem.

The contingent payment program will allow Samford to produce $51 million in energy and operational savings to pay off the improvements over the next 20 years.

Learn more about Samford University here.

About Johnson Controls
Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and multi-industrial leader serving a wide range of customers in more than 150 countries. Our 120,000 employees create intelligent buildings, efficient energy solutions, integrated infrastructure and next generation transportation systems that work seamlessly together to deliver on the promise of smart cities and communities. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. We are committed to helping our customers win and creating greater value for all of our stakeholders through strategic focus on our buildings and energy growth platforms. For additional information, please visit

About Johnson Controls Building Technologies & Solutions
Johnson Controls Building Technologies & Solutions is making the world safer, smarter and more sustainable – one building at a time. Our technology portfolio integrates every aspect of a building – whether security systems, energy management, fire protection or HVACR – to ensure that we exceed customer expectations at all times. We operate in more than 150 countries through our unmatched network of branches and distribution channels, helping building owners, operators, engineers and contractors enhance the full lifecycle of any facility. Our arsenal of brands includes some of the most trusted names in the industry, such as Tyco®, YORK®, Metasys®, Ruskin®, Titus®, Frick®, PENN®, Sabroe®, Simplex® and Grinnell®. For more information, visit 

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