What UVU is Doing: Energy

graphic showing clarke building with geothermal wells below

Geothermal Heating and Cooling

For over forty years, UVU has used geothermal wells to heat and cool the campus.  As the temperature changes outside, water inside a large aquifer below campus stays constant throughout the year. Water is withdrawn from the aquifer, is used to warm or cool the air, and then is injected back into the aquifer. In this process there is no net removal of water from the aquifer and no contaminants are introduced to the aquifer. 

By utilizing the stable underground temperature of the earth UVU reduces natural gas use for heating and electricity use for cooling, lowering UVU's emissions.  As new buildings are constructed around campus, they are added to this energy efficient system.

You can learn more about geothermal heating and cooling by visiting the US Department of Energy's webpage on the topic.

 

Photo showing new efficient LED lighting in the hall of flags

Efficiency Upgrades

UVU is working constantly to improve energy efficiency on our campuses. UVU's largest initiative is to upgrade all lights to energy efficient LEDs. These new energy efficient bulbs will not only save UVU money on utility bills they will save on maintenance costs since LEDs have much longer lifespans than fluorescent or incandescent bulbs.

Through continuous energy monitoring and working with our energy providers UVU identifies and realizes opportunities for energy savings. By taking on these energy savings projects UVU not only ensures lower energy bills but also often receives incentives from our energy providers. 

 

Photo of the solar array at the Capital Reef Field Station

Solar Energy

By 2023 UVU will meet 92% of its electricity needs with renewable, carbon-free, solar power. In 2020 UVU finalized its participation in a solar energy project alongside five other Rocky Mountain Power customers that will build an 80 Megawatt solar farm in Tooele County. You can read more about the solar project in this UVU News article or this Rocky Mountain Power press release.

In addition UVU has two on campus solar power installations:

  • The Facilities Complex (FC) building on the east side of campus has a 45 kilowatt solar panel array, making it a net zero building. When the FC building is not in use the power generated by this array is fed into the campus grid. 
  • The Capitol Reef Field Station (CRFS) in Capitol Reef National Park is an off-grid facility powered by a 14.4 kilowatt solar panel array. This array provides all of the electricity used at the station and charges a lithium-ion battery back-up system.