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Central Utility Plant Operations

The Central Utility Plant provides and maintains 24-hour utility generation, transmission and distribution to all campus buildings. Utilities produced and distributed include:

  • Compressed air (automation systems, lab air, and plant/building control systems)
  • De-ionized water (laser cooling, other research activities)
  • Chilled water (for comfort and equipment cooling)
  • Steam, with condensate return (building heating, absorption air conditioning, humidification, autoclaves, etc.)
  • Hot water (for heating of selected buildings)
  • Electricity: a new, larger power generating plant was placed into operation in August 2003 and consists of a combined cycle gas turbine generator package with a waste heat boiler and an extremely high efficiency steam generator unit operating on steam from the waste heat boiler. The power produced (12 Megawatts per hour) accounts for over 80% of Caltech's electrical requirements.

This group also maintains all distribution systems located in tunnels beneath the campus buildings.

The group also employs engineering professionals charged with developing criteria for operating the mechanical and electrical systems that supply the electrical power, cooling water and air and other utilities to the campus and developing and implementing infrastructure improvement projects. They are also charged with managing and tracking the cost and use of energy and water at the Institute and aggressively pursuing energy conservation opportunities.

The group also operates and maintains a sophisticated energy management system for plant and building control management.

For more information, contact Rick Rodriguez at 626-395-2576 or email,