COLUMBIA — The 118-year-old power plant at MU has been nationally recognized for its energy efficiency.
The MU Power Plant received a 2010 EPA Energy Star Combined Heat and Power award from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. MU is one of three universities in the nation recently recognized with the honor; the others were the University of California in San Diego and Fairfield University in Fairfield, Ct.
"Our efforts to provide reliable, efficient and clean energy have not gone unnoticed," said Karlan Seville, communications manager for MU Campus Facilities. "We are proud of the reputation we've earned at the national and international level."
According to the Campus Facilities website, MU has been operating a combined heating and power plant since 1892, supplying energy and cooling and heating for buildings, which total more than 13 million square feet, including three hospitals, the research reactor and several research facilities.
The 66-megawatt plant uses coal, gas, tire-derived fuel and biomass to produce both steam and electricity.
MU's combined heat and power system uses nearly 38 percent less fuel than typical systems by mixing on-site thermal generation with purchased electricity. The plant reduces carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 107,000 tons per year. This reduction is equivalent to the annual emissions from more than 17,900 passenger vehicles, according to the website.
MU plans to expand the use of renewable biomass in the plant with the addition of a biomass-fired boiler, which will reduce emissions. Biomass burned in the plant will come from within 75 miles of MU's power plant, Seville said.
"Being an environmentally friendly campus is important," Seville added.
The plant has been reducing energy usage by 10 percent per square foot and greenhouse emissions by 12 percent per square foot since 1990. MU has saved an average of $6.6 million annually over the past 20 years, the Campus Facilities website said.
The plant's awards include:
- 2008 Energy Efficiency award from the National Wildlife Federation
- 2004 International District Energy Association's System of the Year award
- 2001 Energy Star Partner of the Year award