Energy and Sustainability

The Benedictine tradition at Saint John's Abbey and Saint John's University advocates a strong commitment to good stewardship of our resources, and both institutions are committed to environmental sustainability. Because energy production, consumption, and conservation play a significant role in sustainability, the Physical Plant is heavily involved in the campus' efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and in the search for alternative energy sources.

Saint John's has a unique energy story which includes a cogeneration Power Plant and a a 3.1 acre solar array. Saint John's Physical Plant is also currently studying the options of geothermal and wind energy.

Other Energy Inititatives:

  • In 2013, the campus made an official move away from use of coal in the Power House. The coal burning boilers present in the power house have since been decommissioned.
  • An evaluation of all steam traps in mechanical rooms and tunnels began in 2012. All traps have been inventoried, and any leaking or defective valves have been repaired or replaced. This has been a major undertaking, and while the savings cannot easily be quantified, the resulting steam savings are expected to be significant. The inventory will continue over the next year to include traps within buildings.
  •  In 2011, fluorescent lighting fixtures across the entire campus were upgraded from T-8 to new, more efficient T-12 models.
  • In 2009, electric meters were installed on all campus buildings to aid in tracking our energy consumption and conservation efforts. In subsequent years, steam and condensate meters have also been installed. Learn more about this project and see real time and historic data on energy usage for campus buildings.
  • The lights in the Warner Palaestra pool were replaced in 2010 with highly efficient induction lights. This upgrade was funded through the Sustainable Revolving Loan Fund and will result in signficant energy and maintenance savings.
  • In spring of 2010, Physical Plant crews installed steam by-pass valves for buildings with older pneumatic controls for heating and cooling systems. These valves will result in energy savings by allowing for modulation and control of the heat supply during the transitional spring and fall months.
  • As part of the 2009 Refectory Renovations, a new make-up air unit and new hoods were installed. Electrical savings as compared to code minimum are estimated to be be over 270,000 KWH annually and over eight million lbs of steam will be saved annually.
  • All appliances purchashed through the Custodial Services Department are energy star rated.
  • Physical Plant is compiling building standards which will set minimum requirements for energy efficiency for all future renovation and new construction projects. The goal is to incorporate components of Energy Star and LEED in order to improve on our baseline energy standards.