Infrastructure Initiatives

Grand Valley State Seeks Reduction in Energy Usage

Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI has renewed an agreement with Veolia Energy North America that will continue reducing the institution's energy requirements. The energy firm provides thermal heating services to the university's Pew Grand Rapids Campus and other organizations in a clustered geographic area. Since 1998, Grand Valley has been receiving thermal energy at two locations on the campus via a district energy system in downtown Grand Rapids. The latest contract extends the supply for the next three years.

"In addition to ensuring that our students receive the best education possible, one of our other priorities is making certain that our campuses are sustainable," said Tim Thimmesch, assistant vice president for Facilities Services. "As a non-profit institution, it is important that we make the best choices when it comes to energy management. Since taking over the Grand Rapids system last year, Veolia Energy has demonstrated a strong commitment to customer service and to improving the performance and reliability of the district energy system."

Since Veolia Energy took over a county heating and cooling system in November 2008, it has implemented measures to increase the efficiency of the operations, including the installation of a condensing economizer. Placed into operation in November 2009, this upgrade is a heat recovery technology that reduces the volume of fuel consumed by at least 5 percent. The company said it expects to implement technology that will permit the university to purchase less water for its cooling towers and instead reuse condensate as make-up water.

Veolia serves about 125 commercial, government, institutional, and healthcare customers in the central business district that also serves Grand Valley State.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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