Karl Helmink is the Associate Director of Utilities and Energy Services at University Facilities & Services (F&S). He manages retro-commissioning teams, which fix heating and cooling systems in campus buildings to conserve the most energy possible. He spends a great deal of time communicating and coordinating with technicians, building personnel, contractors, and other F&S staff members, and says he is constantly thinking about ways to save energy on campus.
Karl began his career at a consulting engineering firm in Champaign and later moved to Eastern Illinois University to be a campus mechanical engineer. He returned t0 Illinois seven years ago to initiate to the retro-commissioning program.
He considers sustainability a part of his job description. “It is rewarding to think about the $23 million in utility cost that the campus has been able to avoid in seven years. In addition we have been able to help with securing $15 million in grants for the campus.”
During his time with the Energy Conservation and Building Standards SWATeam, Karl has learned that there many perspectives and opinions on sustainability items. But, he says, that just means that the campus sustainability effort is pretty strong. He points to the volume of campus resources as a strength for the movement, but knows that because there are so many worthy projects out there, it is sometimes difficult to find a direction. Before his time with the SWATeam is done, Karl hopes to have a firm direction in place to guide campus energy conservation for years to come.