JU Has Gas

The Navigator

Photo by Grace Singer

Natural gas is the new less expensive and more efficient energy source for Jacksonville University as the campus transitions from a propane gas system.

The large white tanks that hold propane alongside buildings on campus will be replaced with underground piping to supply the natural gas. The conversion has a six month return on investment rate.

“Students won’t see the disruption,” said Joe Coleman, Director of Physical Plant at Jacksonville University.

Coleman said that the only challenge would be the Gooding Science building since it holds equipment that is constantly in use and that they have put in most of the underground piping and have one more underground digging before the conversion is scheduled and completed.

“Natural gas is going to be a big savings because it is less per pound and per gallon than propane gas,” Coleman said.

According to integrityenergy.com, the average residential propane price was $2.86 per gallon during the week of March 14, 2011. Compressed natural gas costs between $1.99 and $2.19 per gallon in the state of Florida, according to cngnow.com

Another advantage is that natural gas is an uninterruptible source of energy because it is maintained through pipes.

“It is like your car being hooked up to a gas liner all the way at the gas station,” Coleman said.

Coleman said that there were occasions when the propane supplier could not get gas to the campus in time, which caused uncomfortable situations for students and campus food suppliers.

“With this new system we won’t be running out of gas from time to time,” Coleman said. “It is a much smoother operation now.”

For the change, the burners inside the equipment must be converted in order to be acclimated with heat rating for natural gas because natural gas and propane burn at different temperatures.

Michael Bobbin, Director of Purchasing at Jacksonville University, worked to ensure that the paperwork for the energy conversion was properly oriented.

Bobbin said this will help Jacksonville University because funds can be utilized for other projects and felt as if it is a good decision.

“The change will eliminate the need for gas delivery trucks on campus,” Bobbin said via email exchange. “The removal of the gas tanks on campus will help beautify the surroundings.”