Energy projects

Past Energy Projects

UTM is committed to energy efficiency in all of our operations.

Energy projects that have happened in the past include:

  • Automated boiler blowdown: In order to prevent sludge from building up in boilers, which impedes heat transfer and can damage equipment, water must be periodically discharged or “blown down” from the boiler. This system, which was installed for the boilers in the Central Utilities Plant, measures the conductivity of boiler water and automatically adjusts the blowdown rate to the optimum (as opposed to a manual system, where operators may not know when to conduct blowdown or for how long). This system saves water, natural gas used to heat the water, and treatment chemicals. The savings from installing this system are estimated at over 194,000 US gallons of water per year.
  • In addition, heat is recovered from boiler blowdown. Water that is blown down from the boilers is used to pre-heat makeup water entering the boilers, so the boiler doesn’t have to work as hard to bring the water up to temperature.
  • In 2006, UTM’s main chiller (which creates chilled water which is used for cooling campus buildings) was replaced with 2 new chillers. The old chiller was 40 years old and extremely inefficient. The new chillers are high-efficiency, and use significantly less electricity to provide the same amount of cooling.
  • Implementation of water softening for the campus' main cooling tower has resulted in water savings of 37.5%, or almost 1 million US gallons per year.
  • Implementation of water softening for other cooling towers on campus has resulted in additional savings of over 222,000 US gallions per year.
  • A comprehensive steam trap audit of the campus saves almost 1.5 million US gallons per year.
  • Several campus buildings are built to incorporate environmentally-friendly and energy-saving features (see Green Building page)
  • Several alternative energy technologies have been installed; see Alternative Energies page.

Future Energy Projects

Facilities staff continually review campus energy consumption data to identify and evaluate projects that will save energy and money.

It is important to remember that not all projects that save energy are highly visible and exciting. For example, a project to replace steam traps (devices that separate steam from water in a steam heating system) may not be as exciting to some as a solar energy project. However, the steam trap replacement project might save just as much energy and provide a better return on the University’s investment.

Projects that are planned to occur in the future include:

  • Energy and water metering
  • Energy and water monitoring
  • Lighting retrofit
  • Repair or replace piping insulation
  • Upgrade aging building monitoring controls