The boiler plant served the Salem campus well for many, many years, but over time, it became inefficient and ineffective. And, as Director of Facilities Gary Grimm points out, no one makes the parts to service it anymore. Now, Grimm and his team, along with private contractors, are in the midst of replacing and decentralizing the old boiler system. 

This work is the most significant piece of a three-year, $28 million overhaul of the infrastructure in twelve key buildings on the Salem campus. Ultimately, the work will take the central boiler plant offline, replacing it with modern, efficient, localized boilers that are better for the planet and the budget. The annual cost savings from the new boiler system is estimated to be $192,000. 

Phase One of the decentralization is now complete, with new boilers up and running in Hatfield Library, Matthews Hall, and Sparks Athletic Center. Phase Two is in the works. Other aspects of the infrastructure project range from replacing obsolete HVAC components to installing new windows.

Director of Facilities Gary Grimm points out a steam valve for the old steam supply to Matthews Hall. “The old system dates all the way back to the fifties and sixties,” Grimm says. “The boilers, the lines—the whole system was about forty-five percent efficient, with lots of leaks.”
A collection of flanges, gauges, and pipe nipples. These are examples of the outdated, hard-to-find parts required to service the old boilers. “Not having to work on this old stuff is going to be nice,” Grimm says. It will free up his team to respond to other types of calls.   
In its heyday, this 600-horsepower boiler, which stands ten feet tall, ran almost all the time. Dating to 1968–69, it is the youngest of the three boilers in the central plant. All three will be taken off line once the new, decentralized system is in place. 
New boilers in the library’s mechanical room, before the installation of pumps and piping. At four feet high and ninety-six percent efficient, and with digital controls, “they’re quite a bit different from the old technology,” Grimm notes.  

The new boilers are better for
the planet and the pocketbook.
They are more than twice
as efficient as the old system.

Director of Facilities Gary Grimm
The new domestic hot water mixing valve in Matthews Hall. As Grimm explains, these new systems improve the reliability and consistency of the hot water that flows into the faucets, ensuring that sinks and showers are not too hot and not too cold, but instead just right.
A contractor installs a sensor on one of the new systems. The overall project serves as an example of how to manage deferred maintenance in a way that saves energy, cuts costs, and makes life better for the people who live in, work in, and service the buildings.