Lab Renovation Requirements During a Change From District Steam to District Hot Water

Scott Sepsy, Princeton University

This presentation will provide background on existing team service (campus steam map, description of existing cogeneration system) and carbon neutrality goals; discuss why buildings were chosen (phasing of hot water system buildout, step loads for heat pumps, high CO2 deletion per dollar spent); and discuss campus design standards.

This talk will cover the types of labs affected (molecular biology, neuroscience, vivariums) and issues addressed/lessons learned in the following areas:

  • Labs to remain in operation with "surgical" shutdowns as required
  • Determining actual needs re: domestic/lab hot water temps, substitutes for steam equipment if available (i.e. cagewashers).
  • Evaluating system options with metrics of cost and value, disruption, risk (paralleling existing systems with new where possible).
  • Coordination of work to minimize disruptions.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the CO2 difference between heating with cogenerated steam versus electric heat pumps;
  • Understand the uses of steam in a research building and the options available for lower carbon systems and equipment;
  • Understand the steps needed to achieve a conversion from steam to hot water heating in an occupied lab; and
  • Learn some of the considerations for phasing a conversion from steam to district hot water to minimize disruptions for building occupants.


Scott Sepsy, P.E., is Director of Mechanical Engineering for Princeton University Engineering and Campus Energy. Scott's group provides technical support for Capital Projects, Building Systems and Utilities Planning, Installation and Maintenance for Princeton's Campus and Facilities. He has worked at Princeton for 35 years and is registered in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.


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