Steam plant shuts down early this year

In keeping with Washington University’s commitment to financial and environmental sustainability, the University decided to shut down the main steam plant on the Danforth Campus April 27, three weeks earlier than usual.

Traditionally, the University has waited until after Commencement to shut down this plant, which provides steam heat to some campus buildings. The estimated savings to the University of acting now is $56,000 and 70,000 therms of energy. Current weather predictions for the next three weeks indicate daily average high temperatures in the 70s and low temperatures in the 50s, suggesting this change should not lead to significant discomfort. In the effort to conserve funds as well as energy, the support of the University community is encouraged.

The practical implications of this measure vary from building to building. The Women’s Building, Radiochemistry Building and January, Eliot, Cupples I, McMillan, Sever, Lopata, Cupples II, Jolley and Urbauer halls do not have summer boilers, so they will have no heat once the plant is shut down. If an extended cold snap were predicted, the main steam plant would be reactivated after a delay of 18 hours. Other buildings on campus could be adjusted more quickly if the weather turns unexpectedly cold.

It is suggested that employees keep a sweater or a jacket in their office during this period, particularly for the early morning. Students should be prepared for possibly colder classrooms and dress accordingly.