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Facilities Management Marks ENERGY STAR Day with a Heating Plant Tour

Facilities Management partners with Office of Sustainability to show staff and faculty AU's energy-saving heating plant

Mark Freedman of Facilities Management explains how the heating plant operates.

This past October 11, American University’s Facilities Management Energy Team partnered with the Office of Sustainability to take part in their Sustainabili-Tea series as well as commemorate the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR® Day. 

ENERGY STAR Day is an annual opportunity to celebrate the successes and benefits of energy conservation as well as provide education on ways to be more energy efficient. The Sustainabili-Tea series was designed to engage and educate staff and faculty about the university’s sustainability efforts at AU. Every month, in partnership with different departments and offices across AU, the Office of Sustainability features a component of the university’s sustainability plan. October’s focus was on energy efficiency. In support of both of these efforts, a group of staff and students were led on a tour of AU’s low-temperature hot water heating plant.

Mark Freedman, Manager of Energy Utilities Operations, started the tour off with a presentation on how the campus is heated. Freedman explained that while in the past AU heated the campus using steam, it now produces heat using the low-temperature hot water system which enhances the campus’ energy efficiency and has created long-term energy savings. By lowering operating temperatures, the system increases the energy efficiency of the campus heat distribution system by 40 percent. Between 2018 and 2022 alone, the new plant has saved approximately 162,522 MMBtu (million Btus) of natural gas energy. This energy savings equates to an approximate emissions reduction of 8,599 Metric Tons of CO2, which is equivalent to 967,598 gallons of gasoline consumed.

Freedman stated, “I was pleased to see that staff and students took an interest in the infrastructure that supports our campus. It was an opportunity for us to give them a glimpse of the inner workings of the campus heating system and its significant energy-savings features.”

Heating plant tour participants commemorate Energy Star Day

The staff and students were then shown around the central plant where they got to see the boilers, pumps, and piping systems that make and distribute heating water to provide AU’s campus with heat.

Anna Parse Johnson, AU’s Sustainability Manager said, “Students and staff enjoyed getting to see the behind-the-scenes of the main heating plant in Asbury and learn more about how our campus heating system works. I appreciated the data-driven presentation at the start of the tour – and the great photo-ops!”

ENERGY STAR is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency. The blue ENERGY STAR label provides simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions. Administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, thousands of organizations – including AU and nearly 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies - partner with ENERGY STAR to deliver cost-saving energy efficiency solutions that protect the climate, improve air quality, and protect public health. Learn more about ENERGY STAR here.