Located in the heart of one of the world’s great cities, the University of Illinois Chicago is a vital part of the educational, technological and cultural fabric of the region. UIC is Chicago’s only public research university with 30,000 students, 15 colleges, a hospital and a health sciences system. Utilities and Energy Services (UES) continuously provides reliable, safe, and sustainable energy to support UIC’s success.
UES is responsible for supplying the energy used on campus through production and purchasing. The university purchases some of its energy through Prairieland Energy, Inc. (PEI), a subsidiary wholly-owned by UIC’s Board of Trustees. Energy is delivered to the campus through Commonwealth Edison Company and Peoples Gas.
The east and west campus power plants are responsible for supplying the campus with steam, high temperature hot water (HTHW), chilled water (CHW), compressed air and electricity, while maintaining a careful balance between safety, reliability, and cost-efficiency. All of our major assets run primarily on natural gas but some have the ability to run on other fuels, mainly fuel oil during emergency conditions.
UES is responsible for providing these products to over 100 buildings on both campuses. UIC has two campuses each equipped with their own Co-Generation Power Plant and Chilled Water Plant. Extensive underground tunnel system and direct buried piping provides steam, HTHW and CHW to most campus buildings. Cogeneration or Combined Heat and Power (CHP), first involves producing power from a specific fuel source, such as natural gas. During fuel combustion, co-generation captures the excess heat (which would have otherwise been wasted) and uses that heat to boil water which creates steam used to heat buildings. For example, steam generated on the west campus feeds both U of I Hospital and Rush Hospital, which is used for heating and sterilization.