Monday, October 29, 2007

Solutions update

Just an update on the solutions progress: we have approximately 200 responses on the surveys and will keep collecting data until the end of this week. This will make for a good pilot study and I definitely think we should refine the questions and I can send it out again to faculty, staff, and students next quarter.

I heard back from Third Sun (solar and wind energy) as to what they could possibly implement at OU and how much it costs. This is a PDF though so I can bring it too class.

Additionally, I heard more from Ron regarding some specific questions we had about the univeristy's current system. Here are the relevant questions and his responses:

1. Do you have dollar figures as to how much the residence challenge saved the college, how much it cost to implement and how much it reduced energy consumption?

The Residence Challenge saved us $5256.96 in water, $4183.77 in electric and 106.6 tons of CO2. No figures were kept on actual costs. Actual KGAL water was 685,000 gallons and 96,917 kWh of electric.

2. Is the university set up for natural gas heating? If so, do you know how much more it would cost to switch from natural gas to coal?

Question is a little ambiguous. We heat primarily with steam produced by Coal and Natural gas in a 88% coal and 12% natural gas ratio at the heating plant. Coal is $53.00 per ton and natural gas is presently $10.98 per MCF. Cost per MMBTU is 4.63:1 (gas to coal). We used 25,863 tons of coal and 376,652 CCF of natural gas at the heating plant. The coal cost was $1,468,492 and the natural gas cost us $469,482 Replacing the natural gas MMBTU with coal is only 21.6% the cost! the natural gas could be replaced with coal costing about $101,400.

3. Are our buildings set up with thermostats that we potentially could lower a degree or two in the winter and raise in the summer?

Some are, a lot are centrally controlled and we exercise control over the temperatures remotely. A lot of the buildings, primarily the residence halls have no thermostats for heating and are zone controlled. We have much difficulty regulating the temps in these buildings. Also, individual controls on window A/C's are difficult for us to dictate control!

4. Are there any buildings that would function with passive solar heating and/or could we potentially have solar water heating?

Anything is possible. Solar heating in our region of the US dictates a redundant back up so it results in a higher first cost. To my knowledge, no life-cycle costing has been done on solar heating. It was initially considered for the natatorium I'm told but was discounted due to high need for heat in the winter with low sun hours and a concern as to how to reject all the heat in the summer time when the heat was not needed as much. It is something that bears additional investigation.

See you in class

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