Enough electricity runs through campus to power a small city, serving buildings, roads, parking lots, construction sites, and other infrastructure. The University of Idaho purchases electricity from Avista Utilities via two metered feeds at the edge of campus, which is then distributed through the university owned network. This practice allows the university to purchase electricity at a cheaper rate than Avista’s residential or small commercial customers.
Wood chips are the primary fuel type used for producing steam at the energy plant. These wood chips are a waste stream from the local wood products manufacturing industry. By utilizing this waste stream, the University of Idaho can produce steam at half the cost of natural gas while reducing the campus carbon footprint.
Natural gas for the university’s energy plant is purchased directly from IGI Resources, Inc. Gas is primarily used as a backup for the wood chip fuel during boiler maintenance or period of high loads. Natural gas is also purchased from Avista Utilities for buildings not served by the energy plant.
Buildings connected to the district energy network (updated 2022)
|Area Served ||3.22M||2.38M||3.97M|
1. Area in square feet
Historical data on utilities is provided to the right of this page. All values are per fiscal year, which starts July 1, except water consumption. Starting in 2006, the university began a series of capital projects focusing on reducing energy and water consumption on campus. Metrics from 2018 are compared with the baseline year of 2002 below. As you can see, the results of these projects are substantial. Besides reducing operating costs, these improvements have reduced the overall carbon footprint of the university and increased the local environmental quality for students, faculty and staff, and the local community. Energy and water consumption continue to decrease and the university is dedicated to continuing this success in the future.
|Baseline Year||Amt/Year||Net Improvement|
|Steam Production Efficiency ||11,142||13,027 (2022)||14.5%|
|Particulate Matter Emissions (tons)||35.39||12.89 (2020)||63.6%|
|CO2 Emissions (tons)||76.84||10.09 (2020)||86.9%|
|Make-up Water Consumption (gal)||3.4M||1.44M (2022)||59.2%|
|Domestic Water (gal)||2.17M||1.27M (2022)||41.3%|
|Electricity Purchased (kWh)||63.8M||45.96M (2022)||27.9%|
2. Measured in pounds of steam per unit of wood fuel.