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CU is constructing a new campus utility system that will provide heating, cooling and electricity to campus through energy efficient means.
The Campus Utility System is working to conserve natural resources and significantly reduce carbon emissions on campus through the renovation and construction of the new utility system. According to a university news release, funds for the $91.1 million project derive from a combination of cash reserves and long-term debt proceeds.
The project, which began its construction phase on Aug. 30, consists of three sub-projects: the renovation of the current campus Power House, the addition of new utility distribution systems and the construction of a new heating and cooling plant near Kittredge Loop Road and 18th Street.
Brisa Adilene Garcia, a 19-year-old sophomore ethnic studies major, said she finds the constant construction on campus to be a hassle, but sees this new project as an opportunity for CU to maintain its reputation as an environmentally friendly school.
“If [the new utiltiy system] ends up reducing carbon emissions, I think that it’s great,” Garcia said. “I think it’s good how Boulder strives to be such a green campus. The only downside would have to be the never-ending construction on campus.”
Some students, like 18-year-old freshman MCD biology major Ashley Bornschein, recognize that the ongoing campus renovations are for the advancement of the university.
“I support anything that will help make our campus more improved,” Bornschein said. “A power plant on campus may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, but in the long run, everyone will be better off because we’re able to cut down on the damage we’re doing to the environment around us.”
The construction of the 72,000 square-foot heating and cooling plant near the Coors Events Center began August 30 and will be named the East District Energy Plant. CU is pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification for the sustainable design and construction of the building.
Along with the construction of the new power plant, new utilities will be installed around campus, which will work to deliver chilled water through pipes for an air conditioning system on certain parts of the campus, mainly buildings in the vicinity of Kittredge Loop Road, which includes the Kittredge residence halls.
Nicole Gordon, communications specialist in the Department of Facilities Management, said the renovation of the original campus Power House, built on 18th Street in 1909, will begin next fall and will be renamed as the West District Energy Plant. The new power plant will be renovated with new infrastructure to be able to produce about half of the campus’ electrical power through the use of natural gas.
It is estimated that by using natural gas for its operation, the West District Energy Plant will reduce CU’s carbon emissions by 30,000 metric tons per year.
“We anticipate that natural gas will be an economic energy source for the campus for the future, which can be implemented as appropriate,” said Campus Architect Paul Leef in the university news release.
Moe Tabrizi, director of campus sustainability, said in the news release that the power plants will not be individual of each other.
“The two plants will be connected such that when the entire system is online, the plants will work in tandem with the upgraded distribution system to deliver a high level of efficiency and reliability, helping the campus reduce its carbon footprint,” Tabrizi said.
It is anticipated that the project will be completed in its entirety by September of 2014.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Haleem Mian at Haleema.email@example.com.