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Environment & Energy

Duquesne Receives $2 Million State Grant To Generate Cleaner Energy

Duquesne University received one of seven new clean energy project grants awarded by the Department of Community and Economic Development throughout the state.

The university will use the $2 million to replace its current 50-year-old boilers with larger, higher-efficiency ones.

“We found out about this and we made a decision, why don’t we apply for it and see if we could get it,” said Rod Dobish, executive director of facilities management at Duquesne. “We made a conscious decision to do that.”

The current boilers, which are from 1965, need to be replaced with or without the grant, according to Dobish.

“They were very well maintained,” Dobish said, “That’s how they’ve lasted so long. But they’re at the age where, and with our growth of the campus, we wanted to replace them.”

Duquesne’s system, which generates electricity, heating and cooling, relies heavily on the boilers.

“Especially these last couple winters we’ve had in this area, they’ve been pretty cold and we almost reached our max capacity,” Dobish said. “We’re going to have additional capacity where we’ll be able to meet the campus needs with additional capacity.”

The estimated price tag for the project is $11.5 million, with the remaining cost after the grant covered by the university. The new boilers will save the university roughly $82,000 annually on operating costs.

“The project in and of itself was built into our capital program,” Dobish said. “We have a five-year program built in that forecasts out numerous projects on campus.”

Dobish said they are still waiting for the official guidelines from the state before starting the project.

“One of the things that we did get, that it had to be completed by June 30 of 2017,” Dobish said, “but we’re waiting on final confirmation from the packet with the guidelines.”

This is the largest state grant the university has ever received.

“It’s going to be a good project for our campus,” Dobish said, “and it’s going to allow us to meet the needs in the near and long term.”