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Heating Plant

Heating Plant

Supervisor: Greg Falkenberg

  • Hours: 6 AM - 4:30 PM
  • Phone: 715-836-4412
  • Fax: 715-836-5882
  • Email:

Plant Crew:

  • 5 Heating Plant Operator Seniors
  • 1 Heating Plant Entry Level


The Heating Plant provides steam to 28 University buildings, a neighboring state office building, and technical college. Steam is used for heating, hot water, humidification, sterilizers, cooking equipment and laundry services. The Heating Plant is capable of burning coal, natural gas, light fuel oil and refuse derived fuel (RDF) or any combination of these fuels. This enables the plant to provide steam for over 3 million square feet of floor space at the lowest possible cost. The boilers stand over 4 stories high and have the capacity to burn 130 tons of coal per day. Every heating season the plant burns approximately 6,500 tons (260 semi-loads) of coal, and generates and recycles about 800 tons of ash.

Heat leaves the Heating Plant in the form of steam; water heated to 338° at 100 pounds of pressure. During the peak load months (winter) 80,000 pounds per hour of steam is produced. The main steam pipe carrying it out of the plant is 14" in diameter. After circulating the steam throughout campus, the heat is removed and the resulting water (called condensate) returns to the plant between 140° to 180°. After reclaiming all of the condensate, it circulates back through the process all over again.

Heating Plant crewHeating Plant personnel operate the Heating Plant in accordance with DNR and EPA environmental regulations; energy conservation, equipment repair, coordinating plant inspections, preventative and/or predictive maintenance, prepare capital project requests, record daily operating logs, maintain records and prepare reports for review by DOA/DSF.

Green Efforts:

The University is investigating and testing various energy sources—including natural gas, biomass along with coal—for steam generation in the future. Each energy source comes with difficult questions, risks, and unintended consequences. Biomass—which can include products like wood chips and agricultural waste—has one-fourth to one-sixth the energy density of coal. The 4 to 6 truckloads of coal that currently arrive each day would have to become 16 to 24 truckloads of biomass and a larger storage facility would be needed. A consistent reliable source for burnable products is a concern. Natural-gas prices can be high and volatile and supply lines are unreliable. In northwestern Wisconsin the infrastructure in place is physically incapable of supplying all the uninterrupted gas UW-Eau Claire needs in the peak of winter.

To avoid volatility and supply problems, the university may opt for a plant that can burn multiple energy sources, including coal. Coal in its current form may be hard to justify, but should not be ruled it out as a future resource if it can be figured out how to use it in a responsible way. One sure way to reduce coal usage is to reduce energy use. This requires all of us to change our energy consuming habits.

To report a heating or cooling problem call the Facilities Management office at 715-836-3411 (students should contact their RA or Hall Director to report a heating or cooling problem).