Aerial photos of BYU-Idaho by Michael Lewis.  (Helicopter pilot Richard Smith)

BYU-Idaho reduces its carbon footprint

BYU-Idaho is building a Central Energy Facility to reduce its CO2 emissions, and construction is nearly complete.

It is hoped that the completion of this facility will produce more eco-friendly energy for the university, as well as decrease its utility costs, according to an online statement released by the BYU-I Newsroom.

“The new facility has helped the university to cut back its carbon footprint by replacing the old coal-fired plant with new, more eco-friendly, natural gas equipment,” according to the BYU-I Newsroom Web page.

Wayne Clark, university operations managing director, said when President Gordon B. Hinckley announced in June 2000 that Ricks College would become BYU-I, he knew that changes would have to be made to keep up with the growth.

“Ten years ago, the university was using an average of 50,000 pounds of steam per hour to heat campus on the coldest nights,” Clark said. “Today, with more than 1 million square feet added to campus, the university is using an average of 60,000 pounds per hour.”

The new Central Energy Facility helps address this problem because it releases minimal waste by using a heat recovery system, highly efficient LED lights and condensation recovery tanks, according to the online statement.

“Low flush, water efficient toilets have been installed in restrooms around campus, reducing water usage from 2.5 gallons to one-eighth of a gallon per flush,” Clark said. “The university has also replaced more efficient sprinkler heads in campus gardens and green spaces.”

Clark said construction of the facility began in December 2013, but plans for the new plant began in the early 2000s. He said the facility has been providing electricity for buildings around campus since August 2015.

The facility has two 45,000-pound-per-hour Cleaver-Brooks boilers which provide the campus with steam according to the online statement.

The gas turbine generates five mega watts of power, easing the university’s demand for power.

The school has also implemented several dual drinking fountain/water bottle fill stations to monitor water consumption, according to the online statement.

“In the past five years, BYU-Idaho has decreased water usage by 1.6 million gallons per year,” according to the BYU-I Newsroom web page.

Clark said that along with helping to create a greener environment, he and his associates have worked to make BYU-I as self-sustainable as possible.

“We generate over half of our own energy here on campus,” Clark said.

Copyright 2015 BYU-I Scroll