Steam Plant Rising

Renovated facility garners praise for design
November 30, 2010

Since opening in January, the renovated East Campus steam plant has been making a name for itself as one of the most innovative buildings in the state.

This fall, Facilities Management received the Tower Award for Historic Preservation, the Brick Design Award, and a Merit Award for design excellence from the North Carolina chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The plant was the only entry in the AIA’s annual competition to win three awards from three separate juries.

Built in 1926, the coal-burning plant helped to heat campus buildings until it closed in 1978. After undergoing a $25 million renovation, the plant now burns natural gas and again heats academic and medical buildings, helping the university cut its coal consumption by 70 percent.

In addition to awards from the AIA, the steam plant has won accolades from trade magazines and from the Durham City-County Planning Department. Facilities Management has applied for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program gold certification for the plant.