Yee Lim Shin—Staff Writer
Think back to the time when snow was falling and the temperatures hit the negatives. Everything outside was white while the inside was nice and warm. The warmth was all due to Dordt’s heating and cooling systems.
Dordt has two main systems: the boiler systems near the Maintenance area, and the geothermal system in Kuyper Apartments.
The main boiler system is run by a fire tube boiler, where hot gas passes from a fire into different types of tubes and runs through a sealed container of water. It runs off natural gas but can also run off fuel.
“We treat the water with chemicals just to keep the scale off our tubes, because the less buildup we have on the tubes, the more efficient the boiler is,” maintenance boiler operator Josh Pluim said. Workers test the water in the boilers every day to make sure it is balanced and can be reused in the boilers.
The fire tube boiler sends hot water and steam to eight different buildings on campus. Steam goes from the boilers to East Hall, West Hall, North Hall and the Commons through tunnels and tubes which connect to radiators for circulation in each room.
The Classroom Building, Science Building, Campus Center and B.J. Haan get hot water and steam through a different set of tunnels with a similar setup.
The rest of the buildings—Kuyper Apartments, Covenant Hall, Southview Apartments and East Campus Apartments—have their own hot water systems in their basements, which are controlled through climate control systems. These systems are managed by Maintenance and have temperature set points that are monitored in each room.
“All of these controls are monitored and programmed from a computer and also smartphone access,” main tech technician Paul Kroeze said.
Covenant Hall and Southview Apartments have their own hot water boiler systems in their buildings. The unit for heating and cooling with an adjustable sensor that goes that can be adjusted four degrees above or below the default temperature set by maintenance.
Kuyper Apartments has 80 wells and heat pumps in its basement that send water to each apartment. This system, too, can be controlled within the same range of eight degrees.
All of these heating and cooling systems at Dordt are sustained by the Maintenance department to make sure the rooms and buildings are energy efficient and at their right temperatures.