Utilities and Energy Management
(UEM) provides numerous services to River Campus,
Medical Center, Mid Campus and South Campus to support
the University’s mission.
Electricity: UEM operates and maintains UR’s internal medium voltage (4,160V - 11,500V) electrical grid. This includes substation #710 on Kendrick road where electricity is delivered from RG&E to UR, all the high voltage circuits and switchgear between the substation and the campus buildings and the primary transformers for each building. Once the electricity leaves the building primary transformer for distribution inside the building, the building facility operations team takes ownership.
UEM owns and operates two co-generating steam turbine generators, which can produce up to 25MW of electricity and provide heat to the hot water system. These generators produce about one third of River Campus and Medical Center’s electricity, with the remaining two thirds purchased from RG&E.
Chilled Water: UEM operates and maintains the chilled water generation and distributions system for the River Campus, Medical Center and Mid Campus. Up to 12,000 tons of chilled water is produced in five electrical driven chillers at the Mid Campus Chiller Plant (MCCP) and up to 22,000 tons of chilled water produced by four steam driven chillers at the Central Utilities Plant (CUP). The electric chillers at the MCCP are newer and more efficient so they are run year round, with the steam chillers only running in warm months to handle peak load. As a result, approximately half of the chilled water produced annually is by the MCCP.
UEM also maintains the underground chilled water distribution piping from the CUP and MCCP to campus buildings and the chilled water connection point inside each building.
Steam: We operate and maintain five steam boilers inside the CUP which burn natural gas to produce steam at 900 PSI or 165 PSI. Boilers 5, 6, 7, and 10 produce 165 PSI steam and feed the CUP steam header directly. Boiler 9 produces 900 PSI steam used primarily to operate the high-pressure steam turbine co-generator, which produces electricity with waste heat reclaimed for heating hot water. 165 PSI steam can be extracted part way through this process and fed into the 165 PSI steam header. The 165 PSI steam in the header can be directed to multiple processes simultaneously: steam driven chillers, low pressure co-generation turbine, hot water supplemental heating, River Campus Building Steam Heating or Medical Center Building Steam Heating.
We maintain all the steam distribution and condensate piping that travels from the CUP to many River Campus buildings and most Medical Center Buildings up to and including the pressure reducing stations or steam to hot water heat exchangers in the buildings.
Originally, steam was the only source of heat for the campus. Steam tunnels were constructed from the CUP to the Medical Center under Elmwood Avenue and through the middle of River Campus. These steam tunnels remain in use today to house the steam pipe and other utilities such as hot water, chilled water and electrical distribution. The steam tunnels do not cover the entire campus, so some steam and condensate piping is buried directly in the ground. Many buildings have been converted from steam to hot water to take advantage of the co-generation system and retire the associated steam piping, with more conversions planned in the future.
Hot Water (AKA Co-Gen hot water): Heating Hot Water produced at approximately 185°F in the summer and up to 225°F in winter is distributed primarily underground to buildings on River Campus, Medical Center and Mid Campus. Once inside the building it is transferred to the building’s HVAC system by an Energy Transfer Station (ETS). UEM is responsible for operating and maintaining the generation of the hot water, all of the distribution piping and the ETS.
The majority of the energy to produce the hot water comes by reclaimed heat from the co-generation process. If co-generation is not producing enough or sufficient temperature energy, then steam from the plant steam header is used to boost the temperature, ensuring that hot water is always available no matter the state of the co-generation system.
Co-Generation: This is not a stand-alone utility but a process that integrates multiple utilities. Boilers burn Natural Gas to produce Steam, which is used to drive a turbine to produce Electricity. The “waste” product of this process is vacuum pressure steam (below atmospheric pressure), which still carries a lot of thermal energy. The latent thermal energy from the vacuum pressure steam is transferred to Hot Water, which allows the steam to condense and be recovered for reuse in the boiler. Campus buildings are heated with the Hot Water.
The co-generation process of producing two utilities (electric and hot water) with one source (steam) results in a system that is much more efficient then generating electricity and hot water separately.
Electrical Generation is inherently inefficient. Generating electricity by itself results at best in efficiencies in the 30-40% range. When you combine the process of electrical generation with hot water generation, much of the wasted heat from the electrical generation is recovered as usable heat for the hot water, resulting in much higher combined efficiency.
Natural Gas: UEM maintains and operates a University owned natural gas distribution system on campus. The Central Utility Plant consumes the majority of the campus’s natural gas producing steam, but a few buildings use Natural Gas for cooking or research.
Domestic Water: Also known as Potable water is used for drinking, cooking bathing, laundry, etc. This is clean water that is provided by the City of Rochester to the Campus. Domestic water is used in every building on campus. UEM maintains all of the distribution piping between the City of Rochester and each building.
Fire Water: Supplied by domestic water, fire water supplies fire suppression sprinklers with water to extinguish fires in the event of an emergency. Because of its critical nature, Fire water often has its own dedicated water mains feeding a building. UEM maintains all of the fire water mains between the City of Rochester and the backflow preventer in the building.
Storm Water: There are a system of storm water drainage pipes, tunnels and cisterns that collect rainwater and give it a path to flow safely off the campus. Most of this infrastructure is underground and invisible to the naked eye. The part you do see may look like a grate in the road or lawn. UEM maintains this entire infrastructure on campus.
Sanitary Sewer: The sanitary sewer collects all of the sanitary waste from each buildings and transfers it to the Monroe County department of Pure Waters where the sewage is treated and cleaned before returning it back to the environment. On campus, sewage is comprised of collecting the contaminated water from sinks, showers, toilets, etc. If you see it going down a drain, it is entering the Sanitary Sewer. UEM maintains all of the Sanitary Sewer system between each building and Monroe County.
Meters: UEM maintains all of the 800+ meters that provide utility and energy usage data for each building on campus. We also manage the bills and data from hundreds of external utility owned meters on and off campus. Data from University owned meters is collected in our OSIsoft PI system and is available to University faculty staff and students through our Energy Management information System. Meter data is used to identify opportunities for energy conservation projects inside buildings, validate savings from energy conservation measures, verify bills from external utility providers, and allocated energy costs inside the University. The EMIS collects data from approximately 380 electric meters, 60 natural gas and fuel oil meters, 150 water meters, 140 steam meters, 140 hot water meters and 70 chilled water meters.