Sustainability Projects

Fuel Cell Power Plant

Currently in the last phases of construction, PG&E's high-efficiency fuel cell power plant will produce a total output of 1.4 megawatts of electricity. It is located next to the Music building on the west side of campus and will be completed by Summer 2011.

The fuel cell input is natural gas. When the salts in the electrolyte fuel is heated, they melt and react with hydrogen while flowing from the cathode to the anode. This reaction produces water, carbon dioxide, and electrons which are used to generate electricity. Additionally, the plant produces heat which is used in a heat-recovery process. The fuel cell output is direct-current (DC) electricity which is then converted to 12,000 volts of alternating current (AC) before being routed to the PG&E electrical grid. PG&E Ultra Clean Fuel Cell

CSUEB will capture the waste heat from the fuel cell and use it to heat the Theater, Robinson Hall, Music, and Physical Education buildings along with water for our two swimming pools. This heat-recovery process will offset project costs.

An on-site kiosk will provide the public with information such as gas consumption, the electrical kilowatt-hour output and the efficiency of the fuel cell. The kiosk will also describe the function of each of the fuel cell's components.

The plant meets the standards set by the California Air Resources Board and is considered “Ultra-Clean.” The gas-powered combustion process is 47% efficient in the generation of electricity compared to fossil fuel powered plants that operate at a 35% efficiency. When combined with the heat-recovery process, the efficiency rises to 90%.

Plasma Lighting, Parking Lots

Planned as part of the Parking Lot Reconfiguration project, new plasma lighting will be installed on existing poles as part of a demonstration project in conjunction with the Public Interest Energy Research, University of California Davis and LUXIM Corporation. Unlike current “mushroom” fixtures, these high-efficiency plasma lights allow for dimming during off-peak hours. The lighting retrofit is expected to provide a 40% to 60% energy savings and provide better illumination in the parking lots.

Energy Upgrade

CSUEB partnered with Chevron Energy Solutions Company to install new high-efficiency systems. The projects included the following upgrades:

Campus irrigation

  • Changed all building lighting from T12 to energy-efficient T8 lamps, saving approximately $102,000 annually.
  • Replaced old boilers with high-efficiency natural gas boilers in the Library, Meiklejohn and Art & Education buildings. The boiler replacement resulted in a $42,000 annual savings in utility costs.
  • Installed a new building control system in all Hayward campus buildings, except Warren Hall. The Building Controls Upgrade saves the University approximately $223,000 annually.
  • Installed a weather-station controlled irrigation system. Now plant material is irrigated based upon need rather than a schedule.
  • Installed 90 new low-flow urinals (.5 gal) resulting in significant water savings. The ongoing Restroom Renovation projects will replace the existing toilets with low-flow (1.28 gal) toilets.
  • Installed sink aerators which restrict the water flow from the faucets resulting in less water used in the lavatory sinks.

Recreation and Wellness Plaza LED Lighting

Six super-bright white LED  lighting fixtures were installed in the new plaza area in front of the Recreation and Wellness Center.  LED lighting has a much longer life span than traditional lighting and uses much less energy.


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