Two Universities Gain by Switching Heat from Steam to Hot Water

October 9, 2015 By Carl Weinschenk

Stanford Univ Energy ManageA feature Energywire describes how two universities — the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus and Stanford University – cut both energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions by switching their heating system from steam to hot water. The University of California, Davis is looking into the option.

The seemingly slight change will save the UBC’s Vancouver campus $5.5 million annually in operational and energy costs. It also will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 22 percent. Stanford cut emissions by half and ended use of fossil fuels, the story said.

The process started at UBC in 2007. The school found that almost 90 percent of its emissions emanated from a natural gas-fired plant that created the steam that heated the buildings, the story said. That realization, combined with the fact that the boilers needed to be replaced, led to the decision to switch approaches. The cost of a new plant and steam system would have been $190 million. The hot water approach cut that investment to $88 million.

The Stanford Daily’s story on the launch of The Stanford Energy Systems Innovations (SESI) project says that three water-to-water heat pumps capture heat waste, which is used to heat buildings on the campus.

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