Sustainability efforts extend to Wade Utility Plant

October 7, 2010

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The West Lafayette campus saves on energy costs and environmental impact by operating its own combined heat and power utility plant.

It's much cheaper than buying all of the University's electricity from the utility grid due to the plant's ability to co-generate electricity at the same time it creates steam for heating and cooling.

To be in a position to best use alternative fuel sources, employees will be installing a new co-firing capable circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boiler that can operate with such products as wood waste, switchgrass and byproducts of ethanol and corn syrup processing. The new boiler joins the plant's existing CFB, Boiler No. 5, and will be replacing the almost 50-year-old Boiler No. 1.

The new boiler will allow the plant to reduce emissions substantially and expand its capability to accommodate alternative fuels, while at the same time continuing to supply affordable and reliable utilities to the campus.
Ways to save energy
* Keep doors and windows closed.
* Keep thermostats at a constant setting: 68-70 degrees during the winter and 74-76 degrees during the summer. Notify your building deputy if you find thermostats set outside this range. Bring a sweater to work in the winter.
* During the winter, if a room is unreasonably hot or if during the summer it is unreasonably cold, notify building deputies.
* Close blinds during the summer. Blinds keep rooms cooler. Open blinds during the winter to allow in sunlight.
* Shut off lights in unoccupied rooms during both the winter and summer months.
* Use natural light when it is enough to perform work.
* Don't run water unnecessarily.
* Limit use of incandescent bulbs. Ask for Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLBs). If every American home replaced just one light bulb with a CFLB, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, save more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars. (Source: Department of Energy)
* Limit use of heat-producing, energy-consuming appliances in summer. Bring cold sandwiches, fruits, and salads for lunch and give the microwave a break.
* Respect and nurture trees and shrubs. They provide shade during the summer for reduced cooling and windbreak insulation during the winter for reduced heating. Encourage and support expanded planting of trees. In addition, trees and shrubs consume carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. Over a 50-year lifetime, a tree generates $31,250 worth of oxygen, provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion. (Source: U.S. Forest Service)
More information

* Visit the Wade Power Plant for today's daily utility expenses.

* Wade Utility Production Information