Each year Ohio University’s Facilities Management and Architecture, Design and Construction teams assess the campus’s steam distribution system and identify the highest priorities for repair. This month the steam system repair project wraps up for the year.
Most of the work on the steam system is not visible to those traversing campus, since the tunnels lie under the sidewalks and streets, but this year’s project had a prominent component involving the rebuilding of tunnel tops on the College Green. Steam tunnel work on College Green concluded in August. The last piece of the project to be completed involves repairing a section of steam tunnel structure at The Ridges adjacent to Building 7.
According to Ohio University Director of Infrastructure Projects Jon Cozad, the annual repairs to the steam distribution system improve the reliability of the University’s heating system and are necessary to ensure the continued safe operations of those systems. In addition to the annual steam system repairs project, Facilities Management and Safety employees perform routine maintenance and repairs to the steam system year round.
The University has 4.5 miles of utility tunnels on campus and spends about $1.5 million each year on the repair project. Steam tunnel repairs also reduce campus operating costs through improved energy efficiency. Cozad said the University aims to eliminate leaks in the system so as not to lose the valuable steam and condensate produced by the heating process. “That water is really valuable,” said Cozad. “We work to get as much back to the heating plant and back into our boilers as possible.” Design for the next steam tunnel repair project will begin later this fall.