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Reducing Carbon in the 21st Century: Deciding Whether to Keep Up or Get Ahead
The Carleton College district energy system provides heating, cooling and electricity to over three dozen buildings and nearly two million square feet of space. Faced with aging infrastructure and steam plant equipment, Carleton's operations staff knew that major capital expenditures were on the horizon.

The College had also recently published a Climate Action Plan, mapping a path to become a 100% carbon neutral campus by 2050. With that in mind, the question became not what to replace, but how. Carleton's base case assumed an in-kind replacement of existing high pressure steam equipment, which would lock the College into 24/7 staffing for the foreseeable future.
But with the help of design engineers at MEP Associates and McGough Construction, Carleton transitioned its entire heating system from high pressure steam to low temperature (120 F) hot water tied to three geothermal bore fields and a geothermal heat pump. This summer marks the completion of a 5-year construction plan, and Carleton is already experiencing significant reductions in operating cost, energy consumption and carbon emissions.

This presentation will discuss:

The planning and implementation of this once-in-a-generation project.

Lessons learned throughout the planning and construction process.

The outcomes and benefits to date.


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