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Plant Operations / Utilities

The plant operations department is responsible for the operations of a combined heat and power plant that provides electric power and steam heat. The power plant has a peak load of 7 MW and a power generating capacity of 5 MW. The plant operations department has 5 centrifugal chillers with a total combined capacity of 11,000 tons, two gas fired boilers and one-heat recovery boiler, used to generate the steam that is required to heat the campus buildings, and research centers. These boilers have a total steam generating capacity of 102,500 lbs. per hour.

The utilities section of plant operations is responsible for providing utilities for the university 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Safety, reliability, and efficiency are the main goals. Services provided include maintenance and operation of the equipment in the power plant and buildings.  Its staff keeps all power plant operating systems in good repair to make the campus a comfortable, safe and an attractive place. Our expertise includes but is not limited to rotation equipment operation and maintenance, utilities management, energy conservation, and maintenance.

Physical plant's responsibilities include the following services: HVAC, temperature control, energy management, elevator, fire, sprinkler, emergency generator, autoclaves, water treatment, equipment, and much more. Additionally, this group is also responsible for the 24/7 operations of the Central Cooling/Heating Plant, which provides cooling and heating for about 85% of our buildings on campus. Plant operations also serves as the after-hours call center for all campus emergency maintenance issues. A campus as large and complex as Tulane University can face facilities-related issues that must be addressed promptly. The engineer on duty in the power plant dispatches trade-specialized personnel who are on site and on-call to address these emergencies.  

Utility services we provide at no cost:

  • Maintenance and repair of mechanical systems in all campus buildings. Window units, direct expansion (DX or package) systems, water coolers, refrigeration equipment, chilled water units and the central plant system serving academic buildings and residence halls. Maintenance and repair of controls for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in all campus buildings.
  • Unscheduled/emergency repairs and regular preventive maintenance for:
    • Steam lines, steam traps, chilled water lines
    • Air handlers
    • Chilled water pumps, heating hot water pumps, outside sump pumps, fire pumps, condensate pumps
    • Boilers
    • Chillers
    • Cooling towers
  • Operates and maintains the central plant, which generates steam and chilled water for heating and cooling of most campus buildings. It also responds to certain service calls
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) operating costs for all academic buildings Routine, preventive, and unscheduled/emergency maintenance of air conditioners (window units and DX units) in academic buildings and residence halls
  • Maintenance of built-in drinking fountains
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Thermostat calibration
  • Air handler controls
  • Pneumatic, electronic, and digital control

Utility services we provide for an additional charge:

  • Renovation or new construction of above systems
  • HVAC costs for residence halls, faculty houses, and auxiliary services, including food services and athletics (billed annually by Interdepartmental Transfer, IT)
  • Renovation or replacement of HVAC systems
  • Refrigerators (portable and laboratory)
  • Freezers and walk-in coolers
  • Fans (portable or pedestal)