In fiscal year 2019-2020, the University utilities expenditures totaled $7.7 million for water and energy. UNCG campus used $1.2 million in water bills; and $6.6 million in energy. In the energy side, electricity used $5 million, natural gas $1.6 million, and No. 2 fuel oil used less than $3,000 bills to provide 634,192 million BTUs1 to meet campus energy needs including the COVID-19 special operations. FY 2019-20 energy BTU’s split was approximately 58% natural gas, 42% electricity, and 0.03% No. 2 fuel oil. For a more detailed energy related plan, analytic data, and graphics see the Strategic Energy Plan 2020 update.
1. BTU(British Thermal Unit) U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) defines BTU as “a measure of the heat content of fuels or energy sources. It is the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of liquid water by 1-degree Fahrenheit at the temperature that water has its greatest density (approximately 39 degrees Fahrenheit).”
Piedmont Natural Gas (PNG) provides service through individual meters to the campus and outlying properties. Natural gas is used as fuel for the boilers in the Steam Plant, domestic water heaters, cooking appliances, and generators. Except the Steam Plant and a few residential complexes, most accounts are small enough that the gas service is provided under PNG’s small general service rate or residential rate schedules. In fiscal year 2018-2019, the University’s total natural gas bill was $2.08 million for 384,779 million BTUs (3.85 million therms.)
Natural gas for the Steam Plant is purchased through State Term Contract 405N, which is currently held by Texican Natural Gas Company, LLC. Use of No. 2 fuel oil not only provides a reliable backup fuel but also allows UNCG to take advantage of the interruptible gas rate through the term contract. This capability enhances operational flexibility and results in significant cost savings.
UNCG Steam Plant accounts for about 90% of the entire campus natural gas consumption providing heating and hot domestic water for 62 buildings on campus. In FY2018-19 the plant produced 283.7 million lbs of steam using 3.4 million therms and over 17,000 gallons of No. 2 fuel oil expended $2.1 million to cover only the energy cost of both natural gas and No. 2 fuel oil.
Duke Energy provides electric power to the campus through over a hundred accounts. Approximately half the accounts are for the Lofts on Lee and Spartan Village-I and II on West Gate City Blvd. Others are for either leases for public lighting or for power to very small, dispersed loads such as irrigation systems, emergency phones, and entrance signs. By far the largest account is for the main campus distribution system. The main campus receives power at a central substation that feeds an underground medium voltage electrical distribution system connected to more than 60 buildings on campus.
The campus substation is contracted with Duke Energy for 15 megawatts with a time-of-use electricity rate schedule. UNCG’s electricity accounts including the substation are reviewed annually to evaluate the best rate options and the incentive programs for which UNCG qualifies. All buildings connected to the substation have UNCG-owned electricity meters that are read and manually entered into a database.
In fiscal year 2018-2019, the campus total electric bill was $5.3 million paid for 83.7 million kWhs. The substation electricity consumption totaled to 70.79 million kWhs, representing 85% of the total campus kWhs usage.
Steam and Chilled Water
The University uses purchased power and natural gas to create steam and chilled water that are distributed to the campus. Steam goes to a total of 62 buildings on the main campus where it is used for climate control, humidification, and domestic water heating. In 2018-19, the Steam Plant produced 283,657,000 lbs. of steam, using 4.9 million gallons of make-up water. The Steam Plant registered 1% drop in steam production when compared to FY2017-18.
McIver Chiller Plant is the main campus central chiller plant with 6,000 ton cooling capacity covers the HVAC needs in 42 buildings. Currently under-construction, the South Chiller Plant will add 3,000 tons of cooling capacity (maximum design capacity 7,500 tons) to be looped with the existing McIver Chiller Plant for a more efficient cooling design. The new South Chiller Plant will help meet the additional load of the under-construction Nursing and Instructional Building, and future plans. In 2018-19, McIver Chiller Plant electricity consumption registered a 2.4% reduction in kWhs compared to prior fiscal year.