Built in 1893, Jesse Hall is MU’s main administrative building. The six columns are what remain of MU’s
first building, Academic Hall.
In the past 20 years, MU has taken a
leadership role in reducing energy use by
aggressively pursuing energy conservation in
its buildings and facilities. Energy use per
square foot in the campus educational and
general space has been reduced by more than
12 percent since 1990 even though space
grew more than 28 percent with mostly energy-intensive research facilities during the same
MU continues to reinvest a portion of the
savings in further conservation projects. These
efforts help MU avoid $4.3 million in energy
costs annually. MU’s conservation program has
been recognized on nine occasions by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency and others
for its success. MU has been selected twice by
EPA as ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year, in
1997 and 2001, for its energy conservation
In addition to decreasing energy consumption, MU has increasingly focused on campus
sustainability. In 2008, it established the MU
Sustainable Energy Center, a collaboration of
more than 75 faculty researchers looking at
developing and expanding renewable energy,
especially biofuels. Earlier this year, a full-time
campus sustainability coordinator was added
to help expand sustainable programs and
practices with the involvement of the faculty-and staff-led MU Environmental Affairs and
Sustainability Committee and the student-led
hedge against the financial risks from volatile
energy market swings. The plant operation is
based on multiyear-contracted, stable-priced
coal as its primary fuel with a balanced combination of natural gas and wholesale electricity
depending on market conditions.
Since 1994, MU has supplemented coal
with tire-derived fuel (TDF) in its boilers and
for the past several years has been expanding
its biomass use. Currently, 5 percent to 10
percent of MU’s solid fuel is a combination
TDF and biomass. Four years ago, MU began
testing and developing sources of renewable
biomass fuels for use in its power plant. This
pilot program has been very successful and
demonstrates that MU is able to utilize renewable
biofuels without increased cost, while reducing
emissions and investing in Missouri’s economy.
sustainability organization Sustain Mizzou.
In sync with this initiative is the MU power
plant’s use of alternate fuels, representing a
growing share of MU’s energy portfolio. With
fuel and energy flexibility, MU’s CHP plant
provides the campus with more energy reliability
than a single-source fuel operation and a
Why Biomass for Mizzou?
MU looked into biomass fuels as a way to
use locally supplied renewable energy sources
to provide environmental benefits and offset
the growing long-term costs of transporting
coal. Missouri is rich in forestry and agriculture,
so biomass was an obvious choice to pursue.
Using biomass should provide MU with a
long-term, price-stable fuel; help the campus
become more sustainable; and yield economic
benefits for the state.
Encouraged by the success of other IDEA
members’ projects, such as District Energy St.
Courtesy University of Missouri. Photo plant staff.
The MU Power Plant uses more than 350,000 tires annually collected from waste tire dump sites as a
supplementary fuel. Working with other state agencies, MU is supporting the state’s effort to eliminate
waste tire piles as a public health and environmental measure.