Saint John's operates a co-generation power plant which heats all buildings on the main campus (excluding Flynntown) and cools the majority of buildings while producing approximately one-fourth (1/4) of the electricity consumed on campus. Co-generation means there are two uses for the steam which is produced in the boilers: the boilers generate steam at high pressure - this high-pressure steam passes through generators which produce electricity. The generators, in turn, exhaust steam at a low pressure - this low pressure steam is then distributed around to campus to heat the facilities or, in the summer time, the low pressure steam is sent to the steam-absorption chillers which produce chilled water for cooling the facilities.
This complex operation is managed by our chief engineer (Tom Vogel), who has an assistant chief engineer (Larry Koltes), a mechanic/operator (Michael Burma), and four boiler operators (Dennis Leuthmers, Mike Leyendecker, Scott Shottenkirk, and Bob Will). By law, the high-pressure boilers must be attended 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Folklore has it that the flames haven't gone out at the Saint John's Power Plant since the original dynamos became known as generators.
In addition to heating, cooling, and electrical generation, the Power Plant operates the domestic water system, including the water treatment facility, the water heaters, the water softeners, the wells, pumps, and water tower.