Purdue unveils new comprehensive energy plan

Mary 7, 2012

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue officials on Monday (May 7) presented the new Comprehensive Energy Master Plan to the Board of Trustees Physical Facilities Committee.

The plan calls for $33.1 million to be used to demolish an old coal-burning boiler, convert another coal-burning boiler to natural gas, install a natural gas-fired combined heat and power unit, and increase steam distribution along Jischke Drive. This money had originally been slated to build a new clean-coal boiler.

Requests for a number of related near-term projects will be heard by the board's Physical Facilities Committee on Thursday (May 10) and the full board on Friday (May 11).

Planned near-term improvements include a 5 million gallon thermal energy storage tank that will allow water to be chilled at night when demand for cooling is low and electricity rates are cheaper. Wade Power Plant's Chiller 6 is scheduled for renovations to extend its service life. Planned upgrades to the pump at the northwest satellite plant will improve distribution at the north end of campus.

The trustees requested in 2011 that the university create a comprehensive energy plan to identify and meet the long-term energy needs on the West Lafayette campus. Consultant Burns & McDonnell was hired to assist physical facilities in the plan's development. Once a draft was created, the university provided online, mail and face-to-face public comment opportunities in the first two months of 2012.

"The integrated planning process formed a strategic framework for making fiscally sound and sustainable choices regarding energy production, distribution and demand that will serve the university for years to come," said Robert McMains, vice president for physical facilities. "The CEMP will improve operating performance and position the campus for a more sustainable future."

The CEMP is considered a "living" document that will be revisited and updated to keep it current. As written, mid- and long-term goals include replacing Chiller 6 at the Wade plant, removing Chiller 7 and Boiler 2, building a Boiler 9, adding new chillers at Satellite Plant 2, and building a new chilled water line along Third Street.

Many of the public comments gathered during the first two months of 2012 were focused on sustainability concerns within the CEMP. The director of university sustainability is engaging stakeholders about future initiatives.

"We are working with faculty and staff to change culture and modify behaviors to reduce, optimize and sustain," Michael Gulich said. "The result will be less overall and peak energy consumption."

To better monitor how and where energy is consumed on campus, the proposal calls for meters to be installed at individual buildings over a three-year period.

Despite significant energy-use reductions already made through employee initiatives, McMains said that increased heating and cooling capacity is necessary to avoid curtailments during peak usage periods.

The Comprehensive Energy Master Plan will serve as the basis for several physical facilities requests to the trustees. The complete plan can be seen at http://www.purdue.edu/ees/cemp/ 

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

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

                   Michael Gulich, mgulich@purdue.edu

                   Ken Sandel, director of physical and capital planning, 765-496-6300, sandel@purdue.edu

Related website:
Purdue Physical and Capital Planning