Energy Management Overview
Energy Services operates the campus Energy System Facility which annually produces over 250 gigawatt hours of electricity, 730 billion BTUs of heating energy in the form of steam distributed throughout the campus, and 72 million cooling ton-hours as recirculating “chilled water” for cooling and air conditioning. The central system provides heating and cooling to over 60 buildings on campus. The TES system includes a large Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system, located under La Kretz Hall. The system allows production and storage of chilled water at night when energy cost and cooling demand is low, then to supply the previously stored chilled water to the campus buildings during the day when the cost of electricity and cooling demand is high. Shifting the chilling production from the peak daytime hours to the off hours reduces the cost of air conditioning UCLA by over a half million dollars annually.
Energy Services procures and manages the delivery of the fuels required to run the plant. Multiple fuel sources provide a reliable supply of fuel at competitive market prices. Natural gas contracts are competitively bid by wholesale gas suppliers which deliver the fuel to the local gas utility for delivery to UCLA. The plant also burns methane gas recovered from the natural process of decomposition at the closed and capped landfill in the Mountain Gate Community a few miles from the campus. This renewable fuel has been providing a significant portion of the campus energy requirement for over 25 years. The systems at UCLA burn fuel using low-emission combustion equipment and process the exhaust gases using catalytic converters similar to those used in the most modern low-emission vehicles. When constructed, the cogeneration plant set the Southern California standard for ‘Best Available Control Technology’ for minimizing the pollutants from large power generating facilities. Energy Services also maintains a reserve of low-sulfur fuel oil to provide vital energy needs in the event that normal fuel supply is interrupted.
The evolving campus energy demands of ever changing technology, on-going building and expansion programs challenge Energy Services personnel to provide UCLA’s thermal and electrical needs as efficiently and economically as possible while minimizing environmental impact.