Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer

Energy & Utilities

Lynne Finn, Dean
University of Iowa

The energy and utilities program is structured to give a comprehensive overview of all major utilities services for a school’s physical infrastructure. Basic information will be provided about all of the major utility systems and production as well as the planning, data, business aspects of energy and utilities.  The topics are delivered in a combination of learning methods with some sessions lecture style with content delivery and others are interactive group learning.  Participants will have the opportunity to work on utilities case studies, applying concepts and learning from others.  The curriculum features a perspective of integration – how the work done in energy and utilities impacts other areas of facilities management through dependence and partnerships.  

Courses

300 Energy and Utilities Partnerships
This session will introduce participants to the learning objectives of the week as well as explore the relationships of energy and utilities work to other areas of facilities management organizations such as administration, planning, design and construction and operations and maintenance.  All of our work is integrated, interdependent and our success is set in our ability to communicate effectively and collaborate.   

301 Terms and Definitions
In these sessions, faculty will walk through various terms and definitions used in energy and utilities work. The focus of these sessions will be to put the terms into context and connecting pieces of systems together.  Acronyms and jargon will be decoded.   
302 Data Integration
In this class, we will discuss our needs for data, and how we can share our data with our institution’s vast data resources.  Facilities Management energy, maintenance, financial, space management and other data is fast becoming another sought-after campus utility that should be available to the entire institution in an integrated, globally acceptable manner. To do our jobs, it’s not enough to just know how to use data applications, we need to understand how an integrated, easily accessible “data warehouse” can optimize the performance of those applications.

303 Business of Utilities
This module identifies strategies for enhancing communication with business officers when articulating the critical role that energy and infrastructure systems can have on the institution’s mission; and the opportunities that exist to reduce cost in support of the institution’s business plan.  It specifically covers issues related to competing budget needs, political dynamics affecting decision making, institutional organizational structure, aligning energy and utilities with the institution’s mission, building strategic alliances, and related key elements. 

304 Energy Management
Energy management means managing your energy-related production and consumption to help meet your institution’s vision while maintaining its expected service levels.  This requires grassroots involvement of faculty, staff, and students along with an understanding of the restrictions that can confront the energy management program due to your stakeholders’ conflicting goals.  With many competing political, social, and technical messages bombarding stakeholders, an effective energy management program needs sufficient resources and backing from campus leaders to be effective. Energy Management is not just about conserving energy; it’s about understanding what you can reasonably expect to accomplish within your institution’s constraints.

305 Water
Colleges and university must provide potable water and manage its water distribution system to serve hundreds to thousands of people each day. Those that do not own and operate the water distribution system serving their facilities should work closely with their water purveyor to ensure that reliable water of high quality is delivered to their facilities. The water quality must meet regulatory standards and must be aesthetically pleasing. The potable water will be used for drinking, but it may also serve a plethora of other uses such as research, instruction, cleaning, irrigation, animal husbandry, and fire protection. Many universities use non-potable water for irrigation and other applications, such as cooling and wash-water. This class addresses some of the issues and topics encountered when a typical university supplies safe and pleasant water through its potable water utility.

306 Risk Management
The production and distribution of utilities has an inherently high element of risk.  Failures in utility systems often result in damaged assets and, in rare cases, injuries to the campus community.  This course provides a framework for identifying and categorizing risks in a utility environment.  However, the principles are applicable to managing and minimizing risk in any setting.    

307 Cooling Production
Higher education campus buildings are primarily cooled by equipment that produces chilled water using chillers. These chillers can be located within the building or in a central utility plant and distributed to the buildings using piping infrastructure. Cooling production is typically cyclic in nature peaking in summer and plunging in winter. Depending on the climate the winter requirements can be as low as 10% of summer peak or lower. This requires the utility plant (or individual building) to have capacity for the peak need but underutilized equipment during winter time, providing opportunity for equipment maintenance in winter time. In addition to the chillers, most chiller plants need pumps to push the water from the utility plant out to the campus buildings. The heat transferred from the buildings to the chilled water is finally rejected in cooling towers. This course will explore the various components that entail the cooling production system and the challenges that go along with operations of such systems.

308 Cooling Distribution
In a district cooling system, the cooling medium, chilled water, is produced in a central utility plant and distributed to campus buildings. The central utility plants use various pumping equipment to accomplish this task. The piping used for transfer of this chilled water to the buildings and back to the utility plant is typically underground, either in a utility tunnel or directly buried in ground. Being a closed loop, it is important to minimize losses due to leaks or improper taps into the system. Ensuring good heat rejection (through proper delta T) is important for the efficiency of the operation. This course will explore the various components that entail the cooling distribution system and the challenges that go along with operations of these equipment.

309 Fuels
Universities and colleges have many options when it comes to selecting the primary fuel sources for their utility operations.  Fuels are usually the single largest expense in utility budgets.  Thus, active fuel management is an essential component of providing reliable and affordable utilities to campus.  This course provides a comparison of the primary fuels and the various advantages and disadvantages of each.   The comparison includes traditional hydrocarbon fuels and renewable fuels.  You will also learn about the factors that drive prices up and down as well as recent trends in fuel supply and demand.  The course concludes with a discussion on strategies to reduce the costs and risks associated with fuel procurement.

310 Heating Production
Higher education campus buildings are primarily heated by equipment that produces hot water or steam using commercial or industrial boilers. These boilers can be located within the building or in a central utility plant and distributed to the buildings using piping infrastructure. Heating production is typically cyclic in nature peaking in winter and plunging in summer. Depending on the climate and research needs, the summer requirements can be as low as 10% of winter peak or lower. This requires the utility plant (or individual building) to have capacity for the peak need but underutilized equipment during summer time, providing opportunity for equipment maintenance in summer time. In addition to the boilers, most boiler plants other auxiliary equipment to support the production. After the heat transfer from the hot water or steam to the buildings is returned to the utility plant as lower temperature water or condensate and back to the boiler equipment. This course will explore the various components that entail the heating production system and the challenges that go along with operations of such systems.

311 Heating Distribution
In a district heating system, the heating medium, hot water or steam, is produced in a central utility plant and distributed to campus buildings. The central utility plants use various pumping equipment to accomplish this task. The piping used for transfer of this hot water or steam to the buildings and back to the utility plant (as lower temperature water or condensate) is typically underground, either in a utility tunnel or directly buried in ground. Being a closed loop, it is important to minimize losses due to leaks or improper taps into the system. This course will explore the various components that entail the heating distribution system and the challenges that go along with operations of these equipment.

312 Electrical Production and Distribution
Electrical production and distribution equipment and systems are characterized by highly sophisticated technologies that continue to develop rapidly.  College and university electrical distribution systems generally consist of a switching station for receiving the electricity into the university system, switching substations (which include transformers), medium-voltage conductor circuits, electric power generation, and system protection.  This class will explore electrical systems typical of university-owned facilities where electricity, whether generated on campus, purchased, or both is received and further distributed to points on campus.

313 Utility Master Planning
While departments plan their work regularly and execute them on the planned timelines on a daily basis, due to the scope and costs of utility operations, the leadership needs to engage in a master planning exercise every 5-10 years. This allows the department an opportunity to take a holistic view of all production, distribution, capacity, system improvements etc. During this exercise an attempt is made to align the utility master plan with campus master plan with new building construction or demolition plans. This course will discuss the aspects of the operations that are explored during the utility master planning process.

314 Case Study Work Sessions
Energy & Utilities track of the institute offers multiple courses that allow segmented learning about various aspects of energy management and utilities production and distribution. The case study work sessions introduces a practical and real-life situations in energy and utilities department. Course participants work through the situation applying the knowledge that they gained through other coursework. In small groups and then as a class together we engage in discussion regarding the topic at hand.