Integrated Energy Master Plan Draft Released

By Bill Brown, IU Director of Sustainability

The Central Heating Plant on the IU Bloomington campus.

According to the 2010 Campus Master Plan, the Bloomington campus could “realize an overall 30% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2020 and an 80% reduction by 2050, including anticipated development.” The Campus Master Plan consultants, JJR/Smith Group, went on to state “these reductions can be achieved by reducing existing and future energy consumption, diversifying campus energy resources, investing in efficient steam and electricity co-generation facilities, and monitoring actual campus energy use to better understand power consumption and develop reduction strategies.”

An Integrated Energy Master Plan (IEMP) followed to determine just how that could be accomplished and what it would cost. The long-awaited draft report of the IEMP was presented to the IU Board of Trustees, June 21, at their meeting held on the IU Northwest campus in Gary. Consulting engineers Eric Utterson and Jerry Williams, of 8760 Engineering, LLC in St. Louis, presented a brief PowerPoint presentation of their extensive study.

The stated purpose of the IEMP was to “identify a transformative plan to reduce energy and carbon emissions while maintaining sound economic justifications for these actions.” Energy costs for fiscal year 2010/2011 totaled $25,558,072, with 73.1% of that due to electricity.  An audit of the 104 largest buildings on campus (over 90% of the building area) showed the largest user of energy to be lighting systems (23%). This audit also showed that academic, office, student life and residential buildings are performing well below the national benchmarks for energy efficiency while the science buildings are performing about average. In other words, lots of opportunities for savings are available.

While IUB electricity comes from Duke Energy, heating comes from the Central Heating Plant (CHP), which has coal-fired steam boilers that are 42 to 53 years old. While in 2010/2011 the fuel mix was 92% coal and 8% gas, this year, due to the falling price of natural gas, the university saved considerable dollars by switching almost exclusively to natural gas. The coal boilers, however, don’t burn natural gas as efficiently as boilers designed for gas.

One area identified for improvement is the over 4.2 miles of buried steam pipe and associated condensate return systems that lose energy at the rate of $1.8 million annually. Electric distribution and chilled water distribution systems are in relatively good condition, and the Central Cooling Plant got high marks for efficiency and that system is receiving major capacity upgrades this summer.

Five conclusions and recommendations were included in the presentation to the board:

1. Implement energy conservation projects by continuing to tune building systems, aggressive implementation of energy conservation facility improvements, and install a natural gas turbine cogeneration pant with heat recovery boiler.

2. Repair campus utility systems including critical segments of the aging steam distribution piping system; reduce steam distribution pressure and set up building steam trap reviews; and continue to provide building energy meters and benchmark use as a diagnostic tool.

3. Prepare to stop burning coal. Until coal is retired: retain all current available fuels for operating cost stability; analyze natural gas and coal coasts monthly to minimize operating cost; heat with alternative technologies; move toward distributed hot water heating plants; replace aging boiler#5 with a new high-efficiency unit for a more robust natural gas fired plant operations.

4. Design more efficiently. Continue to require LEED certification for all new buildings with enhanced annual energy tracking; supplement university design standards with energy system requirements for new buildings; continue to investigate renewable energy sources as technology advances reduce costs.

5. Energy conservation through involvement of campus community. Encourage a culture of energy conservation behavior at every level of the campus community. Continue to promote campus programs that reinforce these behaviors.

Full implementation of the energy conservation recommendations would save $9,730,000 per year with an initial investment of $82,580,000, or less than a 10-year payback. Funding for these improvements may come from a number of sources, including normal maintenance and construction, continuation of the current Physical Plant energy conservation team retrofits, direct state funding, Qualified Energy Savings Projects (where bonds for improvements are paid back from energy savings), R&R funding, federal grants, gifts, and other means yet to be determined. Presumably, the next steps would include identifying which recommendations to pursue, determining funding sources and defining a timeline. As the consultants pointed out, it would not be wise to dig up 4.2 miles of steam pipe at once, for example.

Would completion of this plan achieve the goal stated in the Campus Master Plan of 30% greenhouse gas emissions savings by 2020? According to 8760 Engineering, LLC (page 9 of draft report), implementation of the recommendations would reduce energy consumption by 37% and reduce CO2 emissions by 52%.

This fall, plans are being made to present the draft IEMP to faculty, staff and students for additional review and comment before the final document is prepared to guide future energy improvements. The full draft document is available online: http://masterplan.indiana.edu/iub/iub_feedback.cfm

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