Twenty-five years ago St. Olaf had just opened new Ytterboe Hall, which is 115,000 square feet, and was constructing an addition of 75,000 square feet to Rolvaag Memorial Library. Before these projects, the college was operating 1,350,000 square feet of all kinds of space. The new space was going to push up against the limits of the infrastructure’s capabilities, and it looked like any further space additions would require new steam, chilled water, and electrical capacity.
A utilities master plan was initiated, and it was dovetailed with the Framework Plan, or master plan, of the college. Next, the Sustainable Design Guidelines came together with the Framework and Utility plans to make a comprehensive setting for efficient development. These plans have guided all campus development since the Rolvaag addition and renovation.
Utilities can encompass many things, but for these purposes we will limit them to natural gas (and standby oil) and electricity.
St. Olaf is a significant customer of Xcel Energy, for both natural gas and electricity. The college is one of the largest accounts for both in Minnesota. Minnesota has not de-regulated electricity, so we must use Xcel. Natural gas has been de-regulated, so we could choose to go the market, and have, but we take advantage of Xcel programs and choose to stay with them.
Subsequent pages will discuss electricity, natural gas, the heating plant, and the chilled water system.