IU has joined the growing list of colleges committed to stopping the burning of coal on their respective campuses.
In December the IU Board of Trustees approved the new energy master plan due to the combined effort of Coal Free IU and the Sierra Club’s Campuses Beyond Coal campaign.
The plan has many different parts, according to a press release. Its conclusions and recommendations include energy-efficient improvements to facilities, reparations to campus utility systems (such as aging steam pipes), preparations to move from burning coal to natural gas, more fuel efficient buildings, campus and community engagement in energy conservation and progress tracking with an annual report on energy consumption.
The plan benchmarks energy consumption by campus buildings and addresses the effectiveness of IU’s Central Heating Plant, Central Cooling Plant and utility distribution systems for electricity, chilled water and steam and condensate.
These changes will come during the next few years, allowing time for coal boilers at the Central Heating Plant to expire, time for implementation of the efficiency upgrades and time to review clean energy options annually.
“This plan would drastically reduce energy use and emissions,” Director of Sustainability Bill Brown said in a press release.
These changes were driven by the voice of students on the IU campus. A call-in was scheduled in which students, faculty, alumni and community called administrators and voiced their feelings about having a coal free campus.
“After four years of students demanding that IU stop burning coal and invest in a clean energy future, administrators finally listened,” Coal Free IU President Michael Caldie said in a press release in December.
The Integrated Energy Master Plan would cost an estimated $82.6 million dollars, and would provide for a savings of $9.7 million per year, thereby paying for itself in less than 10 years.
— Laura Schulte