UCF to Present on Energy and Water Sustainability at IDEA Conference

May 2, 2018

Early next year, Utilities & Energy Services (UES) is slated to present on Energy and Water Efficiency at the International District Energy Association (IDEA) Annual Campus Energy Conference and Thermal Distribution Workshop in Baltimore, Maryland. This conference brings together industry experts from around the globe pertaining to sustainable energy technologies for cities, campuses and communities. To be presented by UES, in partnership with US Water, is the reclaim water feasibility study for district energy plants that commenced August 1, 2017 on the University of Central Florida main campus.

Since the pilot’s kickoff, Chiller #7 at the satellite district energy plant has been fed with over 3.5 million gallons of reclaim water provided by the Iron Bridge Wastewater Treatment Facility that would have otherwise been fed with potable water pulled from St. Johns River Water Management District. What makes this pilot project unique is its potential scale of impact on campus potable water conservation if fully deployed.

In order to supply a growing campus and meet university sustainability goals, UES has been tasked to find measures to conserve the precious resource of potable water, currently consuming up to 250 million gallons per year. A potential solution lies with reclaim water, typically used for campus irrigation and in some building water closets. Evaporative cooling currently consumes 150 million gallons of potable water to condition 75% of campus sqaure footage, which provides opportunity for other sustainable means.

With over 1 million gallons of available reclaim water allotted to UCF via a bulk water use agreement with the City of Orlando, all district energy plants could conceivably transition to reclaim water. Its chemical makeup, the most immediate variable, has exhibited to have no major impact to the treatment system being used in the condenser thus far, in part to Seminole County’s high quality reclaim water supply.

Chiller #7 has used an average of 28,000 gallons per day as the pilot continues. If determined feasible for expansion, new infrastructure could connect the existing two chilled water plants to distribute reclaim water, its transition ultimately saving $306,991 annually in potable water costs. The associated construction costs to add this infrastructure would equate to $419,300, therefore allotting a short payback time of 1.37 years. This feasibility study will continue for a minimum of a one-year period before evaluating results of the water chemistry, quality, heat transfer, and sensors. If successful, this transition to reclaim in UCF’s district energy plants will be the first to be done at this scale in the state of Florida.