Utility Plant Operations
Rice University has two utility plants on campus. The Central and South Plants collectively house two natural gas turbines (combined heat and power), two heat recovery steam generators, six boilers, six chillers, two cooling towers, and one domestic water well. The plants generate 25 percent of Rice's electricity, 98 percent of heating and cooling, and 20 percent of the campus's domestic water. These utilities are provided through three miles of tunnels and hundreds of miles of pipe, both buried and in tunnels throughout the campus. The plants also serve as distribution points for the remaining 75 percent of Rice’s electricity and another 80 percent of Rice’s domestic water. The Plant Operations are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of a year by licensed operators who monitor and control utility production and distribution on campus. The Instrumentation and Controls Shops manage, maintain, and repair plant instrumentation, utility meters, and building automation systems. After normal working hours, the South Plant control room also serves as the point of contact for building trouble calls, air conditioning and heating schedule, and urgent maintenance requests.
Mission: To provide exemplary service through the production, distribution, and management of utilities for the Rice Campus in the safest, most reliable, most efficient, responsible, and most sustainable manner possible.