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CSUN Dedicates New Heating, Cooling Plant

A new $28-million energy-saving central heating and cooling plant was formally dedicated at Cal State Northridge on Monday.

Located on the northeast corner of Etiwanda Avenue and Plummer Street, the 26,000-square-foot facility is expected to save the university about $300,000 in energy costs during its first year of operation, CSUN President Blenda Wilson said.

“That amount should increase in subsequent years to a plateau of about $700,000 annually,” Wilson said.

“That’s what you call a cost-saving facility.”

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The new plant uses hot and chilled water and 4 miles of underground pipes to control building temperatures on campus, Wilson said. Recalling the old system’s leaky steam pipes, she said, “The old familiar pools of steam that used to rise out of the ground will be remembered only in our faded anniversary photographs.”

The plant includes a 2.2-million-gallon thermal energy storage tank, which will provide cooling during peak electrical usage periods without the use of electrical chillers, said Hildo Hernandez, director of physical plant management at CSUN.

“We’re here for the students, and by increasing their comfort level, we’re making it easier for them to study here at the university,” Hernandez said.

Attending the dedication ceremony were CSUN administrators, most of the plant’s 260 employees and Bonita Lahey, assistant general manager of the marketing and customer services division of the Department of Water and Power.

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Lahey presented Wilson with a check for $2.15 million to help defray the cost of the new plant.

“Any money we can spend to help our customers be more energy efficient is always money well spent,” Lahey said.


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