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Mark Land
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Ryan Piurek
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Last modified: Monday, December 17, 2012

Indiana University energy plan details path to efficient, sustainable Bloomington campus

Dec. 17, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- - A new Integrated Energy Master Plan for Indiana University Bloomington provides detailed guidelines for reducing campus energy use and cutting carbon emissions while maintaining sound economic rationales for conservation-related improvements.

Approved Dec. 7, 2012, by the IU Board of Trustees, the energy plan complements a 2010 IU Bloomington campus master plan and charts a path for developing infrastructure in future decades to serve the goals of efficiency and environmental sustainability.

"With the long-term planning proposed in the Integrated Energy Master Plan, future generations of Hoosier students will benefit from a campus that is more energy efficient, reduces carbon emissions, produces cleaner energy and does so in a fiscally responsible manner," said Tom Morrison, IU vice president for capital planning and facilities.

The plan was prepared by 8760 Engineering of St. Louis, which analyzed intensive data regarding campus energy consumption patterns, future infrastructure needs and future energy delivery mechanisms. Recommendations include investing in infrastructure repairs, creating more energy-efficient building systems and moving away from coal-fired steam generation to heat buildings.

"The Integrated Energy Master Plan outlines an economically feasible plan to dramatically reduce energy use and emissions," said Bill Brown, IU Bloomington director of sustainability. "It also provides analytic tools and accountability measures to guide a dynamic process of continuous improvement to respond to a rapidly changing world."

The Board of Trustees reviewed and commented on a draft of the energy master plan in June, and a public presentation and discussion of the plan took place on campus in September.

The plan benchmarks energy consumption by campus buildings and addresses the current and future effectiveness of the campus's Central Heating Plant, Central Cooling Plant and utility distribution systems for electricity, chilled water, and steam and condensate.

Its conclusions and recommendations include:

  • Implement energy conservation projects -- Make a focused effort to tune mechanical systems; aggressively implement energy-related improvements to facilities; and eventually install a natural gas turbine plant to co-generate heat and electricity.
  • Repair campus utility systems -- Replace aging steam pipes; reduce steam-distribution pressure and review steam traps; and use building energy meters as a diagnostic tool.
  • Prepare to stop burning coal -- Shift from coal to natural gas at the Central Heating Plant as its aging boilers are retired and replaced; until then, retain current fuels for stability and analyze relative costs of coal and gas; move eventually from steam system to distributed hot-water heating plants.
  • Design more efficiently -- Continue to require LEED certification for new buildings; add energy system requirements for new buildings; and investigate use of renewable energy as technology advances and costs decline.
  • Involve campus and community in energy conservation -- Encourage a "culture of energy conservation" at every level; continue to promote programs that reinforce conservation.
  • Ensure accountability -- Track progress with an annual report on energy consumption; identify renewable energy sources on campus and their output; and conduct annual updates of renewable energy options and their economics.

Initiatives identified in the Integrated Energy Master Plan would cost an estimated $82.6 million and would provide annual savings of $9.7 million, thus paying for themselves in less than 10 years.