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Utilities

This area is responsible for the following utilities: steam, natural gas, electricity, cooling and domestic water.

Former Steam Plant
The former steam plant was originally built in 1926 with additions in 1946 and 1968. The coal-fired boilers have steam output capacities of 50,000 and 80,000 pounds per hour. The two dual fuel (natural gas or No. 2 fuel oil) boilers each had steam output capacities of 100,000 pounds per hour. Steam is distributed through three eight-inch pipes, with one serving the north campus, one serving the center and west campus, and the third serving the south campus. This plant has been replaced by the Renewable Energy Center.

Renewable Energy Center
The Renewable Energy Center began construction November 2009 and began operation April 2011. The REC has 4 boilers. Two are biomass gassifiers with output capacity of 40,000 pounds per hour each. The other two are dual fuel (natural gas or No. 1 fuel oil) boilers with steam output capacities of 50,000 pounds per hour each. One biomass boiler is a high pressure (600psi) boiler that feeds into a back pressure steam turbine with a capacity of 650KW. The REC also has two solar arrays of 10KW each with dual axis tracking systems.

Domestic Water
Domestic Water is received from the city in three locations onto the campus domestic water system. This system serves the same buildings as the Steam Plant.

Natural Gas
Natural Gas is distributed to campus on a limited basis via a 4" gas main with the steam lines. The majority of buildings which require natural gas are served by individual taps served by Ameren.

Electricity
Electrical power for campus is received from a 69KV transmission line into a switchyard adjacent to the Renewable Energy Center. A University owned transformer reduces the voltage to 12KV to feed the campus and electrical switchyard at Greek Court.

One line coming out of the switchyard at Greek Court serves the Doudna Fine Arts Center, Buzzard Hall, and Life Science Building at 12.47kv. A second line goes to a university-owned transformer, which reduces the voltage to 4160v for electrical distribution in the south quad. A third line serves the Carman Hall complex and Textbook Rental Service. The fourth serves the old switchyard located outside of the former Steam Plant.

The old switchyard contains a University owned transformer reducing the voltage from 12KV to 4160V, which is fed to 10 individual campus primary circuits. These circuits in turn distribute 4kv to individual building transformers via underground duct cells. This switchyard will be reduced in size, and eventually eliminated, as the loops mentioned below are established.

The electrical master plan calls for a second switchyard to be established in University Court to establish four feeder loops at 12.47kv. Those loops are to serve the north campus, south campus, west campus and Greek Court/Carman Hall.

As opportunities arise, the campus is moving toward upgrading its primary distribution voltage to 12.47kv. Moving from 4160v to 12.47kv will reduce line loss by two-thirds, increase capacity by 200 percent, and move to a more standard utility voltage — thus making repairs easier. The campus will also transition from a wheel-like radial feed to a loop feed. This will increase reliability in case a section fails; it can easily be segregated from the rest of the loop and the loop can continue to function while the section is repaired.

Cooling
In 1995, Eastern Illinois University initiated design of a chilled water loop to interconnect the air conditioning equipment of four buildings. The four academic buildings connected to the chilled water loop are Buzzard Hall, Booth Library, Life Science and the Doudna Fine Arts Center. The goals of the project were to improve energy efficiency by using excess capacity in individual equipment, improve reliability by sharing equipment, permit the cooling of the buildings during seasonal shoulder periods, and defer the replacement of old equipment all at once. This initiative has been very successful.

The project in fiscal year 1998/99 added four buildings to the loop. The residence halls connected were Stevenson Tower, Lincoln and Douglas Halls, and Tower Food Service. The academic building connected was the Lantz Complex, which includes the Student Recreation Center.

One chiller, in Taylor/Lawson Halls, was replaced with an electric centrifugal chiller that is more efficient. In 2002, Phase II ESCo replaced steam chillers with electricity-driven units in Thomas/Andrews Halls, Stevenson Tower, the Physical Science Building and Carman Hall. These projects increased the reliability of cooling systems and allowed for more efficient use of energy throughout the year.

In FY2001/02, the university extended the existing chilled water loop to Physical Science Building, McAfee Gymnasium and the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union Food Court. Under the same project, a mini-loop was installed between the Taylor and Thomas Hall mechanical rooms, allowing those complexes to share chillers. Then, under the Phase II ESCO, a “south quad” chilled water loop was created to connect the residence hall complexes (Taylor/Lawson and Thomas/Andrews) with Coleman and Klehm Halls as well as the new Department of Human Services facility. 

The south loop was connected to the north loop in 2009-10 by the ESCO III project. This project also converted the loops from a ring configuration to a supply and return configuration. This allows cooling to remain in the event of a pipe failure or a pump failure. It also allows cooling to be available year-long without constantly running pumps.

In 2012, the chilled water loop was extended north to connect the old Textbook Rental Service, now home to the Honors’ College, to the chilled water system eliminating the two DX air conditioners that had served this space.

In 2013, the steam absorber in the Doudna Fine Arts Center was replaced with an electric driven chiller. This new chiller will allow the University to no longer rely on the remaining steam absorbers at Buzzard Building and Booth Library.

Currently, there are 19 buildings connected on the chilled water loop. To date, there are 2.2M GSF connected to the campus chilled water loop system, which represents about 68 percent of the total campus space. In the future, this loop may be extended further north east to pick up Old Main, and Blair Hall.

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