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CampusEnergy2024: A Bridge to the Future

By District Energy posted 02-06-2024 17:37


Join more than 1,000 district energy colleagues in San Francisco from February 20th-23rd for this year’s Campus Energy conference

Colleges and universities have long been engines of innovation, scientific breakthroughs, and thought-provoking research. However, those innovations are not just being created in the classrooms and laboratories, they are also happening behind the scenes – in the energy systems powering, heating and cooling the buildings on those campuses.

The people behind those systems who are creating a “bridge to the future” – the theme of this year’s conference - are gathering in San Francisco this February for Campus Energy 2024, which is now in its 37th year. Through a series of panel discussions, presentation sessions, networking with exhibitors and informal meetups over the course of three days, they will discover and discuss energy solutions for campuses, meet and reconnect with colleagues, share ideas and new developments from their institutions, ask questions and learn from one another – all hallmarks of the supportive and tightknit community of IDEA members.

Emerging Tech in District Energy

Because district energy systems aggregate millions of square feet of end-user buildings and deploy a range of different technologies, they offer some of the faster paths to net zero and one of the quickest ways to transition to lower-carbon solutions. But, choosing the technology that’s the best fit for your campus can be challenging. One of our pre-conference workshops – Emerging Tech in District Energy – will explore multiple approaches and enable dialogue on pros/cons of various pathways, including:

·         Nuclear energy and small modular reactors (SMRs)

·         Hydrogen integration and how district energy systems can use hydrogen now, and as the technology evolves

·         Electrification, including industrial heat pumps and electric boilers

·         Carbon Capture and Artificial Intelligence (AI) applied at a district energy scale

The Emerging Tech in District Energy Workshop will be held on Tuesday, February 20th from 8am to 4pm, and requires a separate fee to attend.

Opening Panel

After the pre-conference workshops wrap up, CampusEnergy2024 officially kicks off on Wednesday, February with introductory remarks from IDEA President & CEO Rob Thornton, IDEA Board Chair and Enwave CEO Carlyle Coutinho and the conference co-hosts Earl Collins, CEO of Cordia and Gerry Hamilton, Director of Facilities & Energy Management at Stanford University, and the opening plenary panel discussion on creating “a bridge to the future.”

The panel will feature campus energy leaders from across the country, including two who will share their perspective on the energy transition and what’s ahead at their institutions. They are Sally McGarrahan, Associate Vice Chancellor of Facilities Services, University of California, Berkeley and Lindsey Rowell, Chief, Office of Energy, Sustainability & Transportation, Office of the Chancellor, California State University, who represent a combined 33 campuses across our host state of California.

The other panelists are: Ted Borer, Director, Energy Plants, Princeton University; Gerry Hamilton, Director, Facilities & Energy Management, Stanford University; Mary Qintana, Director, Asset Management & Utilities, Brock University; Ron Saporta, Chief Operating Officer, University of Toronto; Megan Sterl, Director, Engineering & Utilities, Montana State University and Paul Zmick, Director, Engineering & Utilities, University of Virginia.

The hour and a half discussion will cover the technologies these campus energy leaders are implementing, evaluating and planning for their systems, and the principal drivers behind those plans. The discussion will also focus on the challenges these energy system leaders are facing as they work to construct that bridge to a decarbonized future, their relationships with other stakeholders along the course of that journey and the advice they have for other campus and district energy professionals as they look to navigate a similar road.

Five-track technical program

After the conference officially kicks off, the 5-track technical program begins, featuring nearly 100 podium presentations. The tracks covered include:


·     Attracting and Retaining Talent in District Energy

·         Business Models & Financing Strategies

·         California District Energy

·         Connecting Campuses & Communities

·         Controls, Monitoring, Metering, & Data Management

·         Data Monitoring and Accounting on Campus

·         Danish District Heating

·         Decarbonizing in the Northeast

·         Decarbonizing with District Energy

·         Decarbonizing with Heat Recovery Chillers

·         District Energy & CHP Case Studies

·         Energy Water Nexus

·         Future Energy

·         Geothermal

·         Heating with Low Temperature Hot Water

·         Improving Controls at Stanford University

·         Master Planning & Climate Action Plans

·         Microgrids for Resiliency

·         Net Zero Energy

·         Nuclear in District Energy

·         Optimization & Efficiency

·         Optimizing District Energy Systems

·         Planning for the Future on the West Coast

·         System Expansion, Modernization & Renewal

·         Thermal Energy Storage

·         The Stanford Story

·         UC Berkeley: Embracing Change

There are also 19 poster presentations for attendees to view and interact one-on-one with presenters.

The full conference program is online here, but since our host city is San Francisco this year, we wanted to highlight a few of the California-related presentations.

Under the decarbonizing with district energy track, you’ll be able to hear from Matt Allen of McKinstry, John Gibson of Avista Utilities and Emilie Bolduc of EDO Energy about “Creating the Five Smartest Blocks in the World” and how innovative collaboration helped achieve improved occupant experiences and forward-looking development. This presentation will be delivered on Wednesday, February 21st.

On Thursday, February 22nd, Nathan Cesarz and Colin Moyer of Affiliated Engineers, Inc. and Bradley Apigo of Stanford University, will present on a decade of innovation at Stanford Energy Systems Innovations (SESI). According to Stanford, the university’s district energy system is one of the most efficient in the world and incorporates sustainability features throughout its central facility.

Whether it’s wildfires, atmospheric rivers or drought, California has faced some of the most extreme weather, and been one of the areas most impacted by the effects of climate change. With that in mind, on Wednesday, you can hear from several different experts from the University of California system on how they’re making their systems more resilient while also reducing remissions. First, David Trombly and Joseph Yonkoski of UC Davis will discuss their university’s journey toward optimizing electrical grid responsiveness.

Second, Maric Munn of San Timoteo Energy Associates, Sarah Lisker of the University of California Office of the President, will discuss how the University of California – across its 10 campuses system-wide, is employing district energy in its decarbonization planning.

And, Joanna Pyun of Affiliated Engineers Incorporated and Dan Golde of the University of California, Davis Design and Construction Management, will present on the lessons learned during the first phase of decarbonizing UC Davis.

More to explore

There is much more to explore, and more opportunities to learn and connect at IDEA’s 37th Annual Campus Energy Conference as colleges and universities plan, partner, design, construct and commission innovative projects to cut carbon emissions and deliver deep resilience.

Over 140 business partners will be exhibiting and available for networking and connecting on a wide range of technologies, services and solutions.   IDEA Campus Energy is a “can’t miss” event every year, and 2024 is no exception.