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Duke University Continues Commitment to Sustainability
May 7, 2010

Duke University’s commitment to sustainability continues with a $25 million renovation of its East Campus Steam Plant and conversion to natural gas boilers, notes Russell Thompson, director of utilities and engineering for Duke Facilities Management.

For about 50 years, the plant’s coal-fired boilers supplied steam through underground pipes and tunnels to heat campus buildings until the plant closed in 1978. The new plant, complete with 15 Miura LX series gas-fired steam boilers, will provide 35 percent more steam capacity to campus, while simultaneously helping to reduce the University’s environmental footprint.

The new gas boilers require less water and time, in five minutes (or less), to produce steam – and at lower emissions of greenhouse gases than coal. At full capacity, the 15 Miura boilers in the new East Campus Steam Plant will provide Duke with a 110,000 lb.-per-hour base load year-round, and perhaps up to about 130,000 lbs. during peak-need times.

The steam plant conversion is part of Duke’s overall goal to become a climate-neutral campus, a commitment by President Richard Brodhead in 2007, as part of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment.

The reduced coal usage translates to a reduction of 30,000 metric tons of CO2. “It is our first big step in our Climate Commitment Challenge to reduce our carbon footprint,” Thompson said.

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