In 2002, the University completed an Energy Systems Infrastructure Improvements Master Plan. Updates to this plan were completed in January 2006.

Campus chiller and steam plants are considered models of efficiency for centralized supply systems, and the University is working to achieve higher levels of sustainability by employing more efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, energy modeling, and building commissioning. As a result, building systems are becoming more efficient and more complex, making education of building occupants as to the most efficient way to use buildings increasingly important.

Implementation of the 2001 Campus Master Plan to date has resulted in a dramatic increase in demand for service from the campus utility infrastructure.

The most significant change to plans for utility systems since the adoption of the 2001 Plan is the addition of a reclaimed water system. This system is being planned and implemented in conjunction with Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA), and will be used to supply makeup water to the cooling towers at the chiller plants and the Cogeneration Facility. The reclaimed water system requires a water tower which will be located at the south end of the Manning Steam Plant. The first phase of the project will serve the North, South, East, and Tomkins Chiller Plants, as well as the UNC Hospitals’ chiller plants. Later phases will extend the system to the Northeast Chiller Plant and the Cogeneration Facility. Utilizing reclaimed water conserves the community potable water supply, and in the future reclaimed water will likely be used for additional purposes such as irrigation.

The new plant capacities identified in the 2001 Master Plan have largely been completed, although in a slightly different configuration than originally planned. Additional capacity has been added at the Cobb and Tompkins Chiller Plants. These improvements have increased chilled water system capacity to approximately 50,000 tons. Further capacity expansions planned at the North and East Chiller Plants have yet to be completed.

Since the adoption of the 2001 Master Plan, capacity at the Cogeneration Facility on Cameron Avenue has increased to 750,000 pounds per hour. Additionally, a new 400,000 pound per hour steam plant is nearing completion on Manning Drive. These projects complete the boiler plant capacity expansion called for in the 2001 Master Plan.

A new Chiller Plant site at the south end of the Manning Steam Plant has been identified in the 2006 Update to accommodate additional future chiller capacity.

The 2001 Plan called for expansion and improvement of the existing distributions systems. A new network, the South Campus Utility Tunnel, is nearing completion. This walkable tunnel contains steam and chilled water piping. An electrical ductbank, potable water, and reclaimed water piping systems run in the same corridor, but not within the tunnel. Additionally, old steam and hot water distribution piping system upgrades throughout the campus are nearing completion.

Dogwoods by the Old Well

Utility Sites

Reclaimed Water Tank

Chiller Plant

Thermal Storage

Steam Plant