Steam plant recognized for design, sustainability

September 28, 2010

Since its opening in January, the renovated East Campus steam plant has been making a name for itself as one of the most innovative buildings in the state.

In September, Duke Facilities received the Tower Award for Historic Preservation, the Brick Design Award and Merit Award for design excellence from the North Carolina chapter of the American Institute of Architects for its work on the steam plant. The plant was the only entry into the organization’s annual competition to win three awards from three separate juries.

In their responses, jurors described the steam plant as “a piece of art” and said Facilities “went above and beyond the functionality that the building was supposed to be.” Jurors also noted that they liked the plant’s mixture of history and modern design.

plant“Facilities is very honored to be receiving multiple awards for the project,” said Paul Manning, director of Facilities’ project management office. “Our commitment to restoring the grandeur of the steam plant’s original design, while incorporating state of the art technology and increased sustainability is being confirmed and rewarded.”

Originally built in 1926, the coal-burning plant helped to heat campus buildings until 1978. Through the $25 million renovation project, the plant found new life in helping Duke cut its coal consumption by 70 percent by burning natural gas instead. New boilers now provide 35 percent more steam to heat academic and medical buildings, sterilize surgical equipment and maintain proper humidity for art and lab research.

In addition to awards from the American Institute of Architects, the steam plant has been named as the recipient of the Building Design + Construction magazine Platinum Award, which is given to innovative projects that renovate spaces. Southeast Construction magazine also recognized the steam plant with its annual award for best renovation/restoration project and nominated the plant for its “Judge’s Award” for best overall project in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The plant also received a merit as part of the Durham Golden Leaf Awards, which is given to local projects that highlight design and sustainable practices – key components to the steam plant renovation. Facilities has applied the plant for a gold certification level in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program from the United States Green Building Council.

For more information about the history and renovation of the steam plant, click here.