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Two Environmental Initiatives To Be Announced On Earth Day


Utah’s environment will be the beneficiary of two major university events this coming Earth Day. University of Utah President Michael K. Young will cut the ribbon on the campus’s new cogeneration heat and electricity system and, just minutes later, he will sign the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. The dual ceremony will be held outside the university’s High Temperature Water Plant on Tues., April 22 beginning at 11:00 a.m.

The new cogeneration steam system will supply 5 to 10 percent of the U’s electricity needs and produce heat for most of lower campus. The state-of-the-art system was designed and built by Chevron Energy Systems and its subcontractor, Solar, and will reduce CO2 emissions by 63,000 tons annually.

Unlike conventional systems, which use separate boilers and electricity generation equipment, the cogenerator is a combined heat and power system. The plant uses a turbine to spin the generator, supplying campus with electricity and heat. It then captures the excess gas, instead of sending it into the atmosphere, and uses it to heat water that runs through pipes to keep buildings in lower campus warm.

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony for the cogeneration system, President Young will formally sign the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. This document will commit the University of Utah to benchmark goals that will reduce its carbon footprint and integrate sustainability initiatives into its curriculum.

“I am thrilled to announce these two significant milestones in the University’s continuing effort to become one of the most environmentally conscientious campuses in the country,” said President Young. “The new cogeneration system puts us on a path to continually looking for ways to cut our greenhouse gas emissions. This is one of the goals of the Presidents Climate Commitment, which I intend to sign. I can say, with assurance, this is just the beginning of our commitment to making this campus a model of sustainability.”

More than 500 colleges and universities in the United States have signed the Presidents Climate Commitment. Once the document is signed by the president, each institution is asked to develop a climate neutral action plan and create mechanisms for institutionalization and accountability. The University of Utah is already well on the way to achieving these goals with the establishment of the Office of Sustainability last October.


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