Monday, February 4, 2008

Bad Carma?

Some progress is being made in unraveling the Carma web site data for the U of M's steam generation (power) plant. This data has been mentioned previously in connection with the U's going green(er) efforts.

At the suggestion of Professor Swackhamer, I contacted Mr. Jerome Malmquist who is a Departmental Director in Facilities Management – Energy Management at the University of Minnesota.

He responded via email today with the following information. It is reported without change or editorial comment:


I and one of my engineers took a little time to check out the Carma web site. Like many web sites, groups, etc. that are showing up, it seems like there are new ones every day, they take data that they don't completely understand and at times misinterpret it.

First, the University of Minnesota is NOT a power plant by definition. We are a steam generation plant. The steam is used to heat and cool the campus.

Secondly, the data on CO2 emissions appears to be close. If it comes from the MNPUC it might be just slightly overstated.

But, the power output is very misleading. We are not sure where they would get that number from so we assume it is a calculated guess. We don't understand the large "Red" dot. We didn't have time to read that far but we assume it has more to do with our size and not what we are doing to reduce CO2 emissions.

In fact, our steam plant has reduced CO2 emissions, confirmed by NASD audits via our membership in CCX, by over 38% from our baseline. I doubt there are many others who can say that. Further reductions are being made by using oat hulls as a fuel.

In addition we are continually working to reduce energy consumption in our buildings. For example, the steam consumption in the MCB building has been cut by over 24% comparing 12 months ending in November of 2006 with 12 months 2007.

At the same time we cut electrical use by over 6% and we are not done yet. At some point [we] the only option to further reduce CO2 from the boiler plant is to turn off the heat. Which building do you work in?

I hope this information helps.

Thanks for asking,


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