Heating - University of Wisconsin

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory &
Recommendations for Achieving Carbon
Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Kate Hale Wilson
Faculty Support: Dr. Jim Boulter and Dr. Kim Pierson
Student Researchers: Carbon Neutral Team, 2010
Student Presenters: Jason Hansen, Laura Headrick, Steph Mabrey,& Andi Krunnfusz
• Presidents Climate
– Achieve climate
neutrality (date TBD)
– Initiate tangible
actions to reduce
greenhouse gas
– Publish the climate
action plan,
emissions inventory,
and periodic
progress reports
What is eCO2?
• Equivalent carbon dioxide emissions
• Standard measurement for global warming
– Carbon Dioxide
– Methane
– Nitrous Oxide
– Halocarbons
– Sulfur Hexafluoride
2010 Total eCO2 Emissions
Solid Waste &
Total Emissions: 38,870 metric tons eCO2
o Heating produces 13,771 MT eCO2
eCO2 Production by Sources
2008 & 2010 (MT)
39,278 38,870
-2,284 0
• Steam produced by heating plant is used for heating
buildings, heating water, sterilizers, laundry services,
and dehumidification.
• The heating plant relies on coal,
natural gas, and #2 fuel oil. Other
options (such as wood pellets)
have been experimented with by
the heating plant but no reliable
alternatives can be made without
major changes to the heating
Wood Pellets
Wood pellets produce a third of the heat coal does, so in order to
switch over to wood pellets, three times the current storage space
would be required. In addition, wood pellets only effectively lower
emissions when they are produced from scrap wood or from trees
that are replaced with a new tree. Scrap wood is in short supply in
the current economy, so planting replacement trees, though more
expensive, would be the only way to make wood pellets more
carbon neutral. The current system for feeding coal into the UWEau Claire boilers would have to be redesigned in order to move the
smaller, more easily fractured wood pellets. Though this sounds like
an enormous expense, the Sierra Club has pressed charges against
UW-Eau Claire and other state-owned coal plants that they believe
fail the Clean Air Act as part of their “Beyond Coal” campaign. Great
expenses are part of the future of the UW-Eau Claire heating plant
whether they be in improvements or in defense of the current
This graph shows the volume of steam produced by each of our
heating plant’s current sources. Natural gas is used whenever
possible, but coal must be relied on during more frigid days. Natural
gas is provided by the Viking gas line maintained by Xcel Energy.
Unfortunately, during peak heating times, Xcel Energy cuts off large
consumers such as UW-Eau Claire in order to guarantee that
supplies of natural gas reach residential consumers. Fuel oil is used
only for starting up boilers before using other sources or in case of
emergencies. Coal remains our main source.
Natural Gas
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Where does our coal come from?
Blue Diamond Complex
Railroad Paths
Barge Routes
Vessel Routes
Truck Routes
Our coal originates in Kentucky and is
sent by railroad, barge or vessel, and
truck to Eau Claire. Trucking the coal
(usually from the Twin Cities drop-off
site) creates an additional 34.6 MT of
eCO2. However, it is very difficult to
accurately calculate the emissions
produced by the barges and vessels;
therefore, these emissions were not
included in the 2010 Report.
Clean Air-Cool Planet
Campus Carbon
#2 Fuel Oil
Natural Gas
Wood Pellets
25 million Btu/T
9,184 MT eCO2
U.S. Energy
12,324 T CO2
4,802 T
134,500 Btu/gal
892,639 gal
1.03 million Btu/Mcf
116,563 Mcf
16.4 million Btu/T
7,320 T
2,000 Btu/ft2
60,030,000 ft2
8,915 MT eCO2
↓ 3%
6,150 MT eCO2
↓ 33%
208 MT eCO2
11,706 T CO2
↓ 98%
↓ 5%
0 MT eCO2
↓ 100%
This table shows the production of British thermal units (Btu) by a
variety of sources. Provided is each source’s rate of Btu production
per volume unit, the volume required to produce the 120 billion
Btu our coal currently produces, the metric tons (MT) of eCO2
which would be produced by that source, and the percent
reduction it would be compared to the eCO2 produced by coal.
Heating Recommendations
• Improve Heat Efficiency
• Increase Infrastructure Efficiency
• Pursue Alternatives to Coal
Improve Heat Efficiency
Because the University does not currently have the means to convert the
University Heating Plant into a non-coal dependent plant, in the short-term the
University must take additional measures to use coal as efficiently as possible. In
order to prevent heat loss during the heating season, all University windows,
including those in residence halls, academic, and administration buildings, must be
kept closed at all times. We recommend that the University implement a policy
that requires building directors to increase temperature regulation efficiency
through detailed communication with residents and with the University Heating
Plant. The campus community must understand that opening windows during the
heating season results in an increase of steam use, and thus reduces heating plant
efficiency. Improved communication can result in better temperature regulation
and obviate the need to open windows.
Increase Infrastructure Efficiency
Heating and electricity are UW-Eau Claire’s two largest eCO2 contributors; together,
they account for 68% of the University carbon footprint. To reduce these emissions, the
University must increase building efficiency, install energy generating facilities, and
explore carbon-neutral fuel alternatives appropriate to the region. The 2008 report
recommended that University windows be replaced with more efficient glass, which
could result in an up to 25% decrease of heating emissions for each. In addition to
installing more efficient windows, improving the insulation of buildings can reduce the
amount of heat loss that increases utility bills and adds to the carbon footprint. The
temperature controls in many campus spaces also need to be updated and improved.
Effort and funds need to be directed toward developing and installing more efficient
temperature control and monitoring systems in buildings. We recommend that the
University continue to improve the efficiency of all existing campus buildings and to
choose energy-saving designs and materials in all new construction.
Pursue Alternatives to Coal
Heating emissions, the largest contributor to the University's
carbon footprint, account for 35% of the total. In order to reduce
these emissions, the University must reduce its reliance on coal by
lowering the heating load and ultimately by constructing a new
heating system. Because there are currently no feasible alternative
fuel options, the University should create a student/faculty research
team that focuses on coal reduction and new heating technology. In
the meantime, geothermal heat pump, and solar thermal
technologies must be included in all new construction.
Additional Information
• For more detailed information, please view
the 2010 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory
Report & Recommendations for Achieving
Carbon Neutrality in full at:

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