Bill Paulus

Spring cleaning, greening, and air conditioning

Dear FM,
Spring officially began on March 20th, but being that we are in Minnesota, we are welcoming it to campus just a little later. Maybe your personal welcome to spring includes trading boots for sandals or shovels for golf clubs. You all do a tremendous amount of work to get our campus ready for spring - here are a few examples:  

With spring comes a focus on spiffing up building entrances that get really dirty from the winter weather. A special crew goes around with a truck-mount extractor to restore entry matting. Custodians detail corners and edges to remove any residual ice melt and sand, and thoroughly clean the entry glass.That’s a look that says welcome to our buildings! When classes are out in a few weeks, the custodians begin the deep cleaning of all classrooms.

Energy Management
Energy Management’s team works to make sure that building temperatures are comfortable,  and the energy distribution systems are aligned to provide the needed energy in the most reliable and cost efficient means practical.

Bringing up Chilled Water
The Chilled Water Utilities (CWU) team, made up of mechanics and pipefitters and supported by district trades, operates the 16 district chilled water plants and distribution systems that provide air conditioning for buildings. Chilled water is created either through an electric chiller plant or a steam absorption chiller plant. We have both types of plants on campus.

During the winter, most of the chiller plants are offline because heating is the dominant need. The CWU team uses this time to complete off season maintenance, repairs, and cleaning of the chillers to prepare for spring. Around March 15th, the systems are prepared so they can be started up when temperatures are above 60 degrees. This involves cleaning and filling the cooling towers with water, adjusting belts, monitoring gearboxes, testing controls and safeties, starting the chillers, and providing monitoring water treatment programs for Legionella prevention.

In terms of the actual transition of steam utilities from heating to cooling season, it is pretty simple - we reduce the generation of steam to better match campus demand. The steam loads on both campuses are reduced up to ~70% in the summer.

Completing Maintenance on the Steam System
In the summer when the focus is on air conditioning, we complete maintenance and refurbishment work on the steam system to make sure that we are ready to handle the next heating season. Part of this process is understanding the planned distribution system changes and using our modeling software to ensure that we will maintain adequate steam pressure to all customers during the system changes.

Landcare does a lot to transition from snow season to grow season. After the snow melts, Landcare works to erase signs of winter by converting their red snow plows to lawn mowers, cleaning up snow dump areas and streets, removing snow fences and putting out hundreds of tables and chairs on plazas and seating areas throughout campus.

Landcare also works on those “May flowers,” by activating irrigation systems, applying turf fertilizer and herbicides, and planting thousands of pansies and other spring flowers in beds and planters around campus. As the weather warms, the campus comes alive with groups hosting events on campus. Landcare supports these events by conducting permit reviews and providing waste collection. All of this requires a full student staff, so direct student job seekers here!

Thanks to Mike Hofer, Dave Christensen, and Tom Ritzer for sharing what their teams do to get us ready for spring and summer. Enjoy the warm weather and thanks for all that you do to welcome spring to campus!

Have a great week,

Solar Splash
Our April 23rd the University of Minnesota was in the news announcing our on-campus solar panel installations. While some of the panels have been in place since last fall, we were very happy to have a chance to announce this publicly in a very successful media solar splash. Speakers included: University Services VP Mike Berthelsen, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, Energy Commissioner Steve Kelley, University of Minnesota Regent David McMillian, and University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler. Check out the media coverage here: WCCO, FOX 9, and MN Daily. A special thanks to Sustainability Director Shane Stennes for his tireless work to make this vision a reality.
From left to right: FM AVP Bill Paulus, UServices VP Mike Berthelsen, Mpls Mayor Jacob Frey, Energy Commissioner Steve Kelley, U of M Regent David McMillian, and the U of M President Eric Kaler

Employee Reviews

As part of our annual performance review cycle, it is time for year-end reviews. For Civil Service and P&A employees, in-person reviews should be completed by May 17th. Reviews should be signed off by employee and supervisor in UReview by June 5th. Line staff reviews are also due June 5 with sign off by employee and supervisor.

Last Chance - EAM Awareness Survey
EAM’s Awareness Survey closes tomorrow, April 30. Click this link to complete the survey:

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