Stationary Sources

Background
A stationary source is defined as any fixed emitter of air pollution. For the purpose of this project, stationary sources will refer only to heating and cooling methods.  The University of Puget Sound (Puget Sound) has 19 of its main buildings connected to its central steam plant. Among these buildings are most of the university's residence halls, Collins Memorial Library, the Fieldhouse, Wheelock Student Center, and many academic buildings.   These buildings are set between 70 and 72 degrees.  

All of the houses, residence halls, and many of the offices on the exterior walls of the buildings have individually controlled heating valves which can be set to lower temperatures based on personal preference. However, several of the buildings such as Harned Hall, Thompson Hall, Wyatt Hall, Collins Memorial Library, and the internal classrooms and areas have common heating systems and are controlled at average temperatures to meet the heating needs of the buildings.

Approximately 88 percent of our power is hydro, but a small portion of green power is used for both Thompson and Harned Halls.  Puget Sound uses natural gas for most of its heating needs, although there are several electric heating systems. A success story on the Puget Sound campus, Harned Hall was designed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED silver standards and uses a self-regulating method of temperature control. A temperature probe detects changes in the indoor temperature and triggers the lowering of blinds and/or the use of fans.  With this system, no comfort heating or air conditioning is required in Harned Hall.  Thus a building such as Harned Hall decreases Puget Sound's carbon footprint due to stationary and other sources.

Another step in the right direction is a goal of Puget Sound facilities to have energy readings for the campus done by the end of the 2008 summer.  Also no comfort air conditioning is used on campus, and Puget Sound is looking into steam turbines for the future. Last year, 408,000 therms from a steam plant and 342,000 therms from boilers were used (1 therm = 100,000 btu/hr; a british thermal unit (btu) is a unit of energy used in heating and air conditioning industries).  Additionally last year, Puget Sound spent $870,000 on stationary sources alone, including individual building boilers and hot water heating.

In order to determine Puget Sound's carbon footprint due to stationary sources, information was used from several colleges considered as comparable to Puget Sound according to the Peer Institutions List; these colleges were Carleton, Oberlin, Lewis and Clark, and Tufts (see Table 1).  The chosen schools used various fuel sources including natural gas, oil fuel #2, propane, and coal.  After averaging the four institutions’ CO2 emission levels per student and per building, an educated approximation of Puget Sound's emissions was created. Given the similarities between the chosen institutions, it was assumed that their average levels per student and per building represented Puget Sound's emissions levels (see Figures 2 and 3, and Table 2).  These numbers were used to create a range (7,431.12 – 10,359.12 tons CO2 per year) which gives a possible carbon footprint for Puget Sound (see Figure 1).  The highest and lowest levels of this range were averaged to create a base level to work off of for future recommendations (see Tables 1 and 2).



Figure 1: Carbon Dioxide Emissions Comparison for On-campus Stationary Sources.


Figure 2. Carbon Dioxide Emissions per student each year


Figure 3. Carbon Dioxide Emissions per building each year (information for Tufts not available)

 


Table 1: Comparison of University Statistics and Average CO2 Emissions per year.

 


Table 2: Average CO2 Emissions per student and building per year.