The Utilities Department is responsible for the critical task of monitoring and maintaining the university’s distribution systems that consist of a 7.3 miles of steam tunnels, 12.1 miles of chilled water mains, 30.6 miles of electric distribution circuits, 25.4 miles of domestic cold water mains, 8.8 miles of domestic hot water mains, 17.6 miles of sanitary sewers and 24.4 miles storm sewers.
Steam generation is an important component of the university’s energy system. It’s used to provide heating and to operate their central chilled water plant that keeps most of campus cool. Steam is also distributed to campus for other process loads such the University’s laundry and dining halls. Over 87 percent of the heating need of campus is served by steam.
The university’s steam system is based on a 400-psig pressure produced by six boilers connected to a common looped header that supplies steam throughout the power plant.
Generating steam is expensive and can cost anywhere from $12 to $17 per 1,000 pounds according to steam expert and author Will Grindall who is the director of institutional markets for Armstrong International in Three Rivers, Mi.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy a steam system that goes three to five years without proper maintenance that includes inspecting, repairing and replacing malfunctioning steam traps can result in between 15 to 30 percent of the installed steam traps to fail. This allows live steam to escape into the condensate return system increasing costs to produce steam while increasing CO2 levels due to fuel sources used to produce steam.<< previous 1 2 3 4 5 next >>