Purdue announces energy master plan, seeks public comment

January 10, 2012

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University is accepting comments on its Comprehensive Energy Master Plan that was presented Tuesday (Jan. 10) to the Board of Trustees' Physical Facilities Committee.

The plan was designed to meet the university's future energy needs in an affordable and sustainable manner. For the next 30 days, beginning Wednesday (Jan. 11), the public can review and comment on the plan at http://www.purdue.edu/ees/cemp

Trustees requested the plan last February. Robert McMains, vice president for physical facilities, said his department worked to craft an energy plan that includes stakeholder input and aligns with the university's existing New Synergies and sustainability strategic plans.

"We intend to implement several of the plan's recommendations to improve operating performance in ways that meet increased demand, contain costs and maintain the environment," McMains said. "Because the energy industry is so dynamic, we will revisit and update the plan as needed."

Purdue currently is replacing a coal boiler with a natural gas boiler, and staff members continually seek ways to reduce campus energy usage. A number of planned new campus buildings will increase demands on the university's heating and cooling capacity, which led to several of the plan's recommendations, including:

* Replace Boiler No. 1 with a combined heat and power (CHP) unit by 2014. A CHP is a natural gas-fired turbine similar to a jet engine that also produces electricity.

* Replace coal-fired Boiler No. 2 with a cleaner-burning alternative.

* Build a second satellite chiller plant and add electric water chillers to augment building cooling capacity.

* Build an 8,000-ton thermal energy storage tank that will allow water to be chilled overnight when electric rates are lower, and then use the chilled water to cool buildings during the day.

* Increase and improve distribution systems to deliver steam from the Wade Utility plant on the south end of campus to buildings and residences on the north end, and move chilled water eastward from the Northwest Satellite Chiller Plant.

Those making comments on the plan must submit their name, mailing address, a valid email address, their designation (Purdue student, faculty or staff; in-state community member; or out-of-state community member), and whether they are commenting as an individual or on behalf of a group. Comments can also be mailed to Senior Director Energy, Engineering and Sustainability, Frehafer Hall of Administrative Services, 2nd floor, 401 S. Grant Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2024.

Comments, limited to three minutes per person, also will be received at a public meeting from 7-8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, in Stewart Center, Room 310. Those wanting to comment at the public meeting must preregister by noon on Tuesday, Feb. 14, by contacting Debbie Johnson at 765-494-2306 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.

All comments become public record and may be incorporated into the energy plan's final report to be compiled by consultant Burns & McDonnell.

Writer: Jim Schenke, 765-494-6262, jschenke@purdue.edu

Source: Robert McMains, 765-494-8000, remcmains@purdue.edu