Insulated Steam Pipes Save Money

Luther CollegeThe Facilities and Sustainability Committee of the Board of Regents at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, has approved a Steam Distribution Insulation Project for the purpose of reducing Luther’s carbon footprint. As a side benefit, the college will save energy.

This project calls for the installation of insulation blankets on valves, expansion joints and condensate traps across campus, as well as the insulation of several thousand feet of condensate lines in the steam tunnels. The insulation will reduce Luther’s carbon footprint by preventing steam heat, produced by the combustion of fossil fuel in the heating plant, from escaping into the ground or air.

These measures will reduce the amount of fuel required to heat the campus. The initial project costs are $307,000 with annual savings estimated at $91,200 per year, yielding a 3.4 year payback. The project is funded from the college’s energy savings. Project implementation has already begun.

Luther College has reduced its carbon footprint 40.3 percent since the 2003-04 academic year – roughly 25 percent from investments made in energy efficiency and 15 percent from investments in renewable energy. Following complete installation of the Steam Distribution Insulation Project, the college will have roughly four percent to go to reach its goal of a 50 percent reduction in carbon footprint by 2015. The college’s next goal is a 70 percent reduction by 2020 and aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.

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2 thoughts on “Insulated Steam Pipes Save Money

  1. I can’t help but think that Luther University would do better to completely upgrade its heating system rather than simply wrapping its pipes with insulating material. Yes, it’s cheaper but long run a fully modern heating system would save more money and probably surpassed the stated goal of 70% reduction in carbon footprint by 2020.

  2. Can I see the detailed calculations on how they estimated the savings and the payback? There are different ways to estimate savings from insulating steam pipes and I’m curious their method.
    Thank you.

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