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Environment / Sustainability

FortZED affects Engineering fountain, other buildings this summer

June 20, 2011

You may not even notice the changes at first - or at all.

Fountain outside of the Physics Wing of the Engineering BuildingThe water fountain in front of the Physics Wing of the Engineering Building is being switched on and off. Generators will be fired up from time to time outside the University Greenhouse and the Natural and Environmental Science Building. Solar panels will be streaming clean, renewable power into the grid.

CSU part of much larger district

Starting this month, the partners in the three-year “jump start” demonstration project for FortZED or the Fort Collins Zero-Energy District, including CSU, will begin reducing peak electrical demand and monitoring the effect of those changes.

FortZED is made up of a set of active projects and initiatives, created by public-private partnerships including the city of Fort Collins and community organizations. This zero-energy district in Fort Collins includes much of downtown and CSU’s Main Campus.

The demonstration project this summer is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy with support from local organizations. The project will use “Smart Grid” and other renewable energy technologies – like solar power – to generate power locally and reduce energy demand. The tests are largely to collect information to see if this concept is viable and identify the benefits and costs.

Testing largely during hot summer afternoons

Smart Grid software will monitor the city’s substation feeders and partners' control equipment and generators – including equipment on CSU’s campus -- to keep the feeder’s power needs at a pre-determined level that will avoid a peak demand on the system. The CSU campus will participate by running two CSU building generators for short periods of time during the demonstration periods, typically on hot summer afternoons.

The demonstration periods are:
• June 13-24
• July 18- 29
• August 8-19

“We’re going to reduce our peak electrical demand by stopping or slowing down equipment, producing 160 kW of solar and starting generators,” said Steve Hultin, an assistant director for CSU’s Facilities Management department. “At the peak time of day, this reduction reduces demand and stress on power plants and the electrical grid which is also when electricity is most expensive.”

While the university will use the generators to help reduce peak demand, the power produced by solar panels on campus – not including the 5.3-megawatt plant on the Foothills Campus – will simply be recorded as part of the project.

Contact: Emily Wilmsen
Phone: (970) 491-2336