University of North Dakota partners with Johnson Controls to build new steam plant and address $90M in deferred capital

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Best-in-class central utility plant and campus-wide infrastructure improvements enabled by 40-year public-private partnership

MILWAUKEE – (October 23, 2018) – Johnson Controls will increase efficiencies and improve the student experience with the University of North Dakota (UND) by designing, building, operating and maintaining a new central utility plant along with implementing infrastructure upgrades across the campus. The project is enabled by a 40-year public-private partnership (P3) that UND established to improve operations.

The best-in-class central utility plant will replace the existing, century-old steam plant currently located near the main quad of UND’s campus. To provide a better student experience in the central quad, the new utility plant will be built in a different location and will help transform the way energy is delivered around campus. The project is expected to deliver more than one million dollars per year in energy savings, provide resiliency for UND’s infrastructure and reduce the carbon footprint.

“Our relationship with the University of North Dakota dates back to 1910 when Johnson Controls installed 57 radiators and a pneumatic controls system on campus,” said Charles McGinnis, Performance Infrastructure™ vice president of sales, Johnson Controls. “We’re excited to continue our partnership with the visionary university on this project as they will be able to switch from coal to natural gas, reduce the costs of operating their plant and improve the energy efficiency of campus buildings all within budget and no additional funding needed from the state of North Dakota.”

Annually, this project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40,000 metric tons of CO2, which is equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 74 square miles of forest (essentially the size of Grand Forks and Fargo combined). The project will also reduce landfill waste by 3,200 metric tons of ash.

In addition to the new central utility plant, the project will address a number of deferred capital needs on the campus to improve the building operating efficiencies. To provide the best solutions for UND, Johnson Controls assembled a consortium of experts including AEI Affiliated Engineers, AE2S, JLG Architects, Odney Public Affairs, Obermiller Nelson Engineering (ONE), Bruning Law and PCL Construction.

“Our relationship with the University of North Dakota dates back to 1910 when Johnson Controls installed 57 radiators and a pneumatic controls system on campus.” -- Charles McGinnis, Performance Infrastructure™ vice president of sales, Johnson Controls

“When we realized the current steam plant was reaching the end of its life expectancy, we knew we had to enlist a trusted partner who would not only help us fix inefficiencies on campus, but also change the way our infrastructure is run,” said Mark Kennedy, president, University of North Dakota. “By partnering with Johnson Controls in a public private partnership, we are able to do so much more than before. We are able to leave a positive legacy for future generations at the University of North Dakota and the surrounding community.”

The improvements are made possible through an innovative procurement method known as public-private partnership. In this arrangement UND transfers the financial and operational risk, without transferring ownership - and as the operator, Johnson Controls ensures the plant functions at optimal levels throughout the term of the agreement.

“This project is a game-changer in the infrastructure market,” said Mark Reinbold, Performance Infrastructure™ vice president and general manager at Johnson Controls. “We’re helping the University of North Dakota address immediate issues and position themselves for long-term success, both operationally and financially. The risk-transfer is the true value of this arrangement and the school will be showcased as a best-in-class example for other facilities.”

The steam plant vision was led by Mike Pieper, associate vice president of facilities at UND, and Mark Johnson, director of operations at UND, managing the partnership between UND and Johnson Controls. The project will employ 20 local contractors and provide a significant economic boost to the contracting community in and around Grand Forks. The new central utility plant is expected to be completed by spring of 2020. The shutdown of the old steam plant is scheduled for the fall of 2020.

Learn more about the University of North Dakota.

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 or follow us @johnsoncontrols on Twitter.

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 or follow @JCI_Buildings on Twitter.



Anne Lines
Matter on behalf of Johnson Controls
Work + 1 978-518-4512

Ryan Nolan
Global Public Relations Program Manager
Building Technologies & Solutions, Johnson Controls
Work + 1 414 524 6170
Mobile + 1 414 378 9641

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