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Energy Efficiency and Resilience FAQs

Will campus buildings be automatically connected to the geoexchange system?

Several campus buildings, including newer construction, will be connected to the geoexchange system over the next few years. This work will involve connecting the Dining and Community Commons, Alice Paul Hall, Mertz Hall, David Kemp Hall, and several buildings on north campus to the geoexchange, as well as making energy-efficient upgrades and improvements to older buildings, including Parrish Hall, to reduce their load on the geoexchange.

At the heart of campus, Parrish will play a vital role in connecting north campus to the new geoexchange system. Steam system piping in the underground utility tunnel will be replaced with geoexchange supply and return lines. Construction will then extend the geoexchange supply and return piping to the basement of Kohlberg Hall. From there, distribution piping will extend to buildings on the north campus. Along with this new piping, improvements to Parrish will involve upgrading underground utilities around the building, many of which are over 100 years old. This work will be ongoing through spring 2024.

How does energy efficiency support the transition to geoexchange?

The transition to geoexchange will increase our campus electricity demand as we move away from on-site combustion of natural gas and towards a fully electrified system. This electricity demand will be met with renewable energy sources, including the off-site renewable energy generation facility. 

We will also continue to expand existing campus energy efficiency efforts, like the Green Revolving Fund, to help support our transition to the geoexchange system and achieve a resilient, reliable, and resource-efficient energy system on campus   

What energy-efficient upgrades will be made to campus buildings? 

In order to connect to the new geoexchange system, existing campus buildings will undergo energy efficient upgrades, such as retrofitting windows in Parrish to improve energy efficiency, continuing to upgrade campus lighting to efficient LEDs, and retrofitting older buildings with HVAC systems that are compatible with the new low-temperature hot water distribution through the geoexchange system.

What is the standby generation plant?

The standby electricity generation plant will be a stand-alone plant, located on Field House Lane, designed to supply back-up electrical power to campus as needed for consistency. This will reduce the College’s dependence on the local utility provider and increase the reliability and resilience of campus electricity systems. Additional electrical power would be generated as needed through the use of gas-powered generators and battery backups, with the potential for large-scale battery storage in the future.