Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory & Recommendations for Achieving Carbon Neutrality Heating 2010 Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Kate Hale Wilson Faculty Support: Dr. Jim Boulterand Dr. Kim Pierson Student Researchers: Carbon Neutral Team, 2010 Student Presenters: Jason Hansen, Laura Headrick, StephMabrey,& AndiKrunnfusz
ACUPCC • Presidents Climate Commitment • Achieve climate neutrality (date TBD) • Initiate tangible actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions • Publish the climate action plan, emissions inventory, and periodic progress reports
What is eCO2? • Equivalent carbon dioxide emissions • Standard measurement for global warming potential • Carbon Dioxide • Methane • Nitrous Oxide • Halocarbons • Sulfur Hexafluoride
2010 Total eCO2 Emissions Total Emissions: 38,870 metric tons eCO2 • Heating produces 13,771 MT eCO2
Heating • Steam produced by heating plant is used for heating buildings, heating water, sterilizers, laundry services, and dehumidification. • The heating plant relies on coal, natural gas, and #2 fuel oil. Other options (such as wood pellets) have been experimented with by the heating plant but no reliable alternatives can be made without major changes to the heating plant.
Wood Pellets Wood pellets produce a third of the heat coal does, so in order to switch over to wood pellets, three times the current storage space would be required. In addition, wood pellets only effectively lower emissions when they are produced from scrap wood or from trees that are replaced with a new tree. Scrap wood is in short supply in the current economy, so planting replacement trees, though more expensive, would be the only way to make wood pellets more carbon neutral. The current system for feeding coal into the UW-Eau Claire boilers would have to be redesigned in order to move the smaller, more easily fractured wood pellets. Though this sounds like an enormous expense, the Sierra Club has pressed charges against UW-Eau Claire and other state-owned coal plants that they believe fail the Clean Air Act as part of their “Beyond Coal” campaign. Great expenses are part of the future of the UW-Eau Claire heating plant whether they be in improvements or in defense of the current system.
This graph shows the volume of steam produced by each of our heating plant’s current sources. Natural gas is used whenever possible, but coal must be relied on during more frigid days. Natural gas is provided by the Viking gas line maintained by Xcel Energy. Unfortunately, during peak heating times, Xcel Energy cuts off large consumers such as UW-Eau Claire in order to guarantee that supplies of natural gas reach residential consumers. Fuel oil is used only for starting up boilers before using other sources or in case of emergencies. Coal remains our main source. Btu
Where does our coal come from? Our coal originates in Kentucky and is sent by railroad, barge or vessel, and truck to Eau Claire. Trucking the coal (usually from the Twin Cities drop-off site) creates an additional 34.6 MT of eCO2. However, it is very difficult to accurately calculate the emissions produced by the barges and vessels; therefore, these emissions were not included in the 2010 Report. Blue Diamond Complex Railroad Paths Barge Routes Vessel Routes Truck Routes
This table shows the production of British thermal units (Btu) by a variety of sources. Provided is each source’s rate of Btu production per volume unit, the volume required to produce the 120 billion Btu our coal currently produces, the metric tons (MT) of eCO2 which would be produced by that source, and the percent reduction it would be compared to the eCO2 produced by coal.
Heating Recommendations • Improve Heat Efficiency • Increase Infrastructure Efficiency • Pursue Alternatives to Coal
Improve Heat Efficiency Because the University does not currently have the means to convert the University Heating Plant into a non-coal dependent plant, in the short-term the University must take additional measures to use coal as efficiently as possible. In order to prevent heat loss during the heating season, all University windows, including those in residence halls, academic, and administration buildings, must be kept closed at all times. We recommend that the University implement a policy that requires building directors to increase temperature regulation efficiency through detailed communication with residents and with the University Heating Plant. The campus community must understand that opening windows during the heating season results in an increase of steam use, and thus reduces heating plant efficiency. Improved communication can result in better temperature regulation and obviate the need to open windows.
Increase Infrastructure Efficiency Heating and electricity are UW-Eau Claire’s two largest eCO2 contributors; together, they account for 68% of the University carbon footprint. To reduce these emissions, the University must increase building efficiency, install energy generating facilities, and explore carbon-neutral fuel alternatives appropriate to the region. The 2008 report recommended that University windows be replaced with more efficient glass, which could result in an upto 25% decrease of heating emissions for each. In addition to installing more efficient windows, improving the insulation of buildings can reduce the amount of heat loss that increases utility bills and adds to the carbon footprint. The temperature controls in many campus spaces also need to be updated and improved. Effort and funds need to be directed toward developing and installing more efficient temperature control and monitoring systems in buildings. We recommend that the University continue to improve the efficiency of all existing campus buildings and to choose energy-saving designs and materials in all new construction.
Pursue Alternatives to Coal Heating emissions, the largest contributor to the University's carbon footprint, account for 35% of the total. In order to reduce these emissions, the University must reduce its reliance on coal by lowering the heating load and ultimately by constructing a new heating system. Because there are currently no feasible alternative fuel options, the University should create a student/faculty research team that focuses on coal reduction and new heating technology. In the meantime, geothermal heat pump, and solar thermal technologies must be included in all new construction.
Additional Information • For more detailed information, please view the 2010 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Report & Recommendations for Achieving Carbon Neutrality in full at:http://www.uwec.edu/Sustainability/plans/index.htm