LEEDing the Way to Greener Campuses

As the College of Southern Maryland Physical Plant Executive Director

CSM’s David Dalo Manages College’s Energy Saving Measures

            In high school, David Dalo had two interests, baseball and mechanical drawing. Although he was invited to try-out for the New York Yankees, it was Dalo’s passion for a different kind of drafting that would ultimately guide his career.

“After a season in the Rookie League, I determined that it could take years for me to be called up to the majors, if at all. So, I decided that my best bet was to go to college,” said Dalo. “I got interested in drafting when I was in high school so it made sense to pursue that as a career and that’s how I got started. I was fortunate to have found that one thing that I loved—and was good at.”

            Now, as the College of Southern Maryland Physical Plant executive director, Dalo has responsibility for 23 buildings totaling 676,558 square feet of classrooms, labs, offices and conference rooms, with more in the planning stages, on 326 acres throughout Southern Maryland’s three counties.

Although baseball would remain an integral part of his life—he’s a lifelong Baltimore Orioles fan—Dalo’s main focus has been architecture and construction, fields he has thrived in and ones that continue to inspire him.


The Green Mindset

Dalo holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture and urban design and a master’s degree in urban design and planning and is pursuing a Doctor of Management from University of Maryland University College (UMUC).

“I’m working on finishing my dissertation in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) but I am seriously considering changing the topic because I’ve become so involved with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification,” said Dalo, who added that the topic change may add a year or more to his completion of the doctoral program.

“We have an inherent responsibility, a civic responsibility, to the environment. [Mankind’s] carbon footprint is enormous and we’ve ignored it for so long. A lot of people have it in their mind that energy conservation measures (ECM’s) cost a lot. That’s not true. It does cost, but the payback period on many ECM’s is typically three to five years and then after that, after you’ve gotten the payback of your investment, your utility bills are all cut back by 12 to 20  percent. From the economic side it makes sense and from a social responsibility standpoint it makes sense,” said Dalo.

As his interest in environmental issues has grown, so have his certifications. Dalo is a Certified Facilities Manager (CFM) from the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) and a certified LEED-Green Associate from the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). He is working toward the LEED accredited professional (AP) certification.

“Dave’s background and LEED certifications were a perfect fit to assist the college with our capital projects and facilities upgrades. When the second building on the Prince Frederick Campus was in the planning stages in 2011, we aimed for LEED silver certification. In 2013, with Dave onboard as part of the construction management team for the Career Education (CE) Building on the La Plata Campus we're identifying additional sustainability efforts that could lead to LEED gold certification. Additionally, Dave will be most instrumental in planning for the proposed regional campus in Hughesville,” said CSM Vice President of Financial and Administrative Services Tony Jernigan.

In heading these expansion and revitalization efforts, Dalo brings a wealth of experience. Before coming to CSM, Dalo worked as a project manager for Nationwide Commercial Construction, Inc. of Annapolis and Johnson Controls, Inc. of Baltimore. During his 10 years at the University of Maryland College of Computer, Math & Natural Sciences in College Park, Dalo was director of facilities and managed the design and construction of college capital projects including the $85 million Bio-Science Research Building, the $24 million Chemistry Wing III and the $8.4 million Patterson Micro-Biology Teaching Labs. Dalo directed the maintenance, design and construction renovations of numerous and varied laboratories, science facilities, auditoriums, offices and classrooms.

Prior to UMD, Dalo was senior project manager, design and construction for Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and was principal partner of a residential/light commercial real estate developer and builder. Dalo began his career as chief architect, Prince George’s County Government, Economic Development where he was involved in the early planning stages of National Harbor.

“I’m fortunate for the experiences I’ve had in building design and construction, and the opportunities to take what I know and what I’m learning about energy and environmental design to bear in creating these new spaces for our students and the community,” Dalo said.


Small Changes Can Lead to Big Savings

The three fundamentals in sustainable, green or energy efficiency are reductions in the use of electric, water and more energy efficient use of HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), and building energy management systems and energy efficient design and construction from the ground up, according to Dalo.

“The college is going to automated controls, or ATC, which is automated temperature control and we can adjust the temperatures from a laptop off-campus,” Dalo said. “We do things such as weather-stripping around doors, reinsulate to the maximum capability and put thermal blankets on hot water heaters—the same things that homeowners are asked to do, we do at CSM on a much bigger scale.”

            CSM has increased its electrical efficiency by retrofitting most of the florescent light fixtures on campuses with higher efficiency fixtures, saving the college 10 to 12 percent on energy bills. “That is a tremendous savings in dollars. And when we do that, we actually get rebate money from the electric companies—they pay us to make energy efficient changes,” he said.

            Dalo’s department is preparing to implement measures to reduce CSM’s water usage which he said is important in being a good steward of the environment. “It is not just a cost issue it is a sustainability issue,” said Dalo. “The most practical way to [save water] is to reduce the supply of water going into a building which may only mean downsizing a water meter.”


A Sustainable, Beautiful Learning Environment

            Beyond the brick and mortar, Dalo sees the college as a place where lives are transformed, and a place that should be beautiful and welcoming.

“The facilities team plays a key role in the success of the college. The first impression a student, or potential student, has of the college comes from the condition of the buildings, the appearance of our facilities and the upkeep of our grounds. The facilities team helps to create an atmosphere that conveys respect and professionalism—a place where students and professors can share in the learning process,” said CSM Vice President of Student and Instructional Support Services Dr. Bill Comey.

“While student success is primarily in the hands of instructors, there are many others on our campuses who also play an important role in keeping our students safe and provide a comfortable learning environment,” said CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried. “We had a visit from Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot who toured our La Plata Campus and told us the buildings and grounds reminded him of an Ivy League school. We get a lot of compliments on our grounds from local dignitaries as well as visitors from around the globe,” Gottfried said.

Dalo’s team of 54 full-time, six part-time and five temporary employees, conduct scheduled maintenance and repairs on buildings of various ages including the Leonardtown Campus Administration Building which was the former home of the St. Mary’s Academy built in 1936.

Faculty and staff submit the work-order requests through an online system that breaks down nearly 100 possible areas needing action—from event set-up, to painting, to desk repair to housekeeping. Last year, Dalo’s team handled nearly 3,500 requests, from changing light bulbs 40-feet up in the Prince Frederick Flagship Building’s atrium, to flushing the water tower on the La Plata Campus, to assembling bookshelves for the Leonardtown Campus’ new College Store.

The college has formed an Environmental Sustainability Committee composed of faculty, staff and students to address and identify sustainability opportunities and issues. The committee is charged with recommending considerations for the college to increase campus-wide environmental awareness and coordinate current and future sustainability efforts such as electric car charging stations or solar power generation, said Dalo.

For information on CSM, visit www.csmd.edu.