The University of Iowa

UI Utility System

The University of Iowa utility system

The University of Iowa requires roughly the same amount of energy as a town of 30,000 homes. That means that the university needs about the same amount of energy as the rest of Iowa City!

To meet the University of Iowa's energy needs, the University of Iowa has a utility system including a main power plant, a water plant, a chilled water plant, and an additional power plant on the Oakdale campus. The University of Iowa officially transferred management of its utility system to ENGIE North America on March 11, 2020. The partnership formed the group the UI Energy Collaborative which manages the UI utility system to meet the campus' energy needs.

Production Facilities

The University of Iowa utility system managed by the UI Energy Collaborative provides campus buildings with critical heating, cooling, and sterilization.  The UI Energy Collaborative also provides electrical power to the main campus through a combination of power generated at the power plant and power purchased from MidAmerican Energy, or from Alliant Energy on the Oakdale Campus.  In addition, the UI utility system includes four chilled water plants and three satellite chillers which provide air-conditioning to campus, and a water plant that purifies and distributes 900 million gallons of water to campus annually.  

Power Plant
Power Plant

The main power plant provides steam for heating, cooling, and sterilization as well as providing energy security to all main campus buildings. The UI is on the Path to Zero Coal by 2025 and is increasing its use of biomass to reduce reliance on coal.

Chilled Water Plant West
Chilled Water Plant

The chilled water plant includes four plants and three satellite chillers for a total capacity exceeding 40,000 tons. Chilled water is currently used primarily for air-conditioning.

Water Plant
Water Plant

The water plant purifies and distributes 900 million gallons of water annually.  In addition to providing water for campus, the water plant also serves as an important teaching facility for future engineers and water treatment specialists.

Oakdale Energy Plant
Oakdale Utility Plant

The Oakdale Utility Power Plant located on the Oakdale Campus/UI Research Park is a trigeneration plant providing electricity, heat, and cooling for facilities such as the Hygienic Lab, Data Center, and the Environmental Management Facility. 

UI utility innovative programs

While under Facilities Management, the UI utility system developed innovative practices that will continue under the management of ENGIE and Meridiam.

Energy Control Center
Energy Control Center

 The Energy Control Center was developed by UI Utilities under Facilities Management for the monitoring, analysis, and forecasting of energy supply and consumption across campus. It is now managed under ENGIE and Meridiam as part of the P3 agreement.

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Oat hulls
UI Biomass Program

 UI Utilities developed an innovative biomass program to reduce the university's dependence on coal. In partnership with ENGIE and Meridiam, this program will continue the UI's efforts to move operations completely off of coal.

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