This three-year project significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and clears the way for net-zero campus emission.

Brown’s campus is made up of approximately 240 buildings, the majority of which were heated via an on-site operation at the Central Heat Plant (CHP).  In 2016, Brown embarked on this transformational project to rethink how we acquire, use and distribute our heat from the CHP. The Thermal Energy Efficiency Project converted the CHP from a steam-powered high-temperature system to a medium-temperature hot water distribution system.

The Thermal Efficiency Project converted the three CHP boilers from 150 psi steam to pressurized hot water. This improves plant efficiency and allows future integration of renewably sourced electric heat pumps as a heat source. The project also eliminated all eleven steam hubs on the campus heating loop and heating loads are now served by medium temperature hot water or local steam boilers. This allows operation at lower heating loop temperatures. Finally, steam distribution systems and terminal devices were converted for nearly 40 buildings, improving system efficiency.


This project is in alignment with Brown’s commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2040, with 75% reductions by 2025.