The Engineering & Energy Management team oversees the design and upkeep of Boston College's engineering infrastructure, manages utility systems that support the campus, and operates and maintains the central heating plant in the Service Building.
The Boston College Energy & Engineering department has direct responsibility for the University's utility budget, utility consumption, and utility conservation programs. The group supports the management of the University's Energy Management Control System, develops utility budgets for all of BC's properties, and oversees payments of utility bills.
Utility Conservation Programs
Boston College has converted the heating plant that serves Claver, Loyola, and Xavier Residence Halls with state-of-the-art dual-fuel boilers. This conversion directly reduces the amount of emissions by decreasing fuel consumption and allowing for the use of cleaner-burning natural gas.
Other heating plants, such as the one located in St. Mary's Hall, have been upgraded and emissions lowered through the use of low-sulfur fuel oil.
Ongoing preventive maintenance efforts to steam distribution infrastructure, such as a steam trap program, save fuel oil and reduce emissions.
BC strives to reduce electric use to save dollars and, in turn, reduce the amount of emissions the electric utility companies emit from their generating plants. Electric conservation has taken place at BC in the following areas:
- Retrofitting buildings with efficient lighting: Stuart Hall, 66 Commonwealth Ave., McElroy, the Bookstore, Lower Campus Dining Facilities, the Central Heating Plant, and Edmonds Hall have been recently retrofitted, saving BC over 400,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.
- Installing high-efficiency motors to run building equipment
- Controlling efficient motor operation with variable-frequency drives
- Implementing a computerized energy management system to operate the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in buildings
- Installing motion sensors to turn lights off when areas are not being occupied
- Participating in Utility-Sponsored Demand Side Management and Response Programs
The Central Heating Plant at Boston College provides steam to the majority of buildings on the Main Campus. The Plant has the capability to use #6 oil or natural gas. Knowing that natural gas is an environmentally cleaner burning fuel, the Plant uses natural gas from March through November.
Water and Sewer
Water conservation is important to guarantee adequate supplies for future needs. In addition, water and sewer costs have risen over 500% in the last 10 years and are continuing to rise. To address these challenges, Boston College has taken the following water conservation measures:
- Installation of low-flow toilets
- Installation of low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators
- Utilization of underground sprinkler systems that provide for an efficient irrigation process
Central Heating Plant
The Central Heating Plant operates and maintains three high-pressure steam boilers providing service for up to 22 buildings.
The Boiler Room Foreman maintains the annual operation of the plant and provides supervision for five operators working three shifts, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
Steam production equipment consists of one Bigelow boiler, field-erected in 1967 and rated to produce 35,000 pounds of steam per hour; and two identical 1979 Cleaver Brooks package boilers, rated to produce 50,000 pounds of steam per hour. All three boilers are capable of burning either oil or natural gas. The dual-fuel capacity allows for flexibility of mechanical operations, as well as better internal fuel cost management in the competitive fuel supply market.
All heating plant operators are licensed by the Department of Public Safety, Division of Engineering Inspection.
Over the course of the summer, Boston College expects to receive electricity grid alerts from our provider during heat waves. We plan to help conserve energy in our buildings across campus by switching off some non-essential lighting and adjusting thermostats.
We'll be helping to keep the community's lights on by shutting off some of ours!
How Can You Help
When we receive these electricity grid alerts, we will send out a Facilities Advisory with specific information about how you can help. Members of the community will be asked to minimize consumption of electricity as much as possible in the afternoon, when the temperatures tend to peak. In particular, everyone is asked to:
- Close windows
- Close curtains and blinds
- Turn off and unplug individual coffee makers, device chargers, printers, copiers and other electronic equipment not in use
- In offices with thermostats, raise the setting to 75 degrees
- Turn off office lights
- Plan ahead for peak days: run large print or copying jobs and charge devices in the morning so the equipment can be turned off if necessary in the afternoon
- Check unoccupied offices and spaces to turn off electricity in rooms people aren't using
In addition, you can help spread the word to your coworkers and others on campus. You might consider posting these printables on your office bulletin board.
Thank you for your help, small efforts make a big difference!