Solutions Analysis

This section outlines the process used to assemble the Portfolio of Recommended Solutions and a summary of the technical and financial analysis performed by the modeling team.

Evaluation of Solutions

The team considered over two dozen individual Solutions while developing this plan. Some Solutions were excluded from the plan since they were not considered viable carbon mitigation strategies for UMA (See Solutions Considered but Not Modeled below). Some solutions were included as part of the Scenario Analysis but were not ultimately included in the Recommended Portfolio of Solutions. The following steps were used to gather, screen, and model the individual Solutions:

  • Definition: the team worked with the CMTF to gather ideas based on existing studies, programs or common strategies used at other campuses. Ideas were documented in a solutions summary document. This document included an overview of the concept for each Solution and a hypothesis of how the solution might help UMA to mitigate emissions. Some ideas were discussed but were excluded since they could not be sufficiently defined for further evaluation.
  • Data Gathering: the team reviewed existing documents, studies and other information provided by the CMTF and UMA staff. In many cases, the consulting team met directly with relevant staff and / or committees to flesh out specific technical details about a specific solution. Some solutions were abandoned at this stage since there was either insufficient information available or if a previous study has already proven the concept unviable at the UMA campus.
  • Modeling: For any Solution that survived the first two screening steps, the modeling team performed a life-cycle analysis to determine the cost-effectiveness of each Solution in isolation. However due to their interconnected nature, some Solutions were evaluated as a group to adjust their size, scale, and timing through an iterative evaluation process.
  • Values Screening: Some Solutions appeared viable and cost-effective in theory, however, upon deeper evaluation, were considered not to be appropriate based on the criteria setup by the CMTF in the Boundaries and Values document.


Solution Metrics

The following table provides an overview of the GHG and financial impacts of the modeled Solutions. The values are intentionally shown in relative terms since the theoretical potential impact these solutions could vary greatly if pursued in isolation or as part of a portfolio. Specific assumptions and portfolio-level detailed impacts will be shown later in this report.

# Solution Start Year NET GHG Savings NET CAPEX Required NET OPEX Impact Key Insights/ Notes


Green Building and Renovation Standards 2020 4% none Savings Cost premiums for higher building standards were not modeled
2 Behavior Change 2020 2% none Savings Program costs are offset by commodity saving
3 Strategic Energy Management (SEM) 2020 5-22% $$-$$$$ Large Savings The carbon impact is independent with solutions 6-9 and 13. SEM is a viable cost-savings solution even if there is little carbon to mitigate
4 Chilled Water Expansion and Optimization 2021 < 1%   Savings Solution will help enable solutions 6-9. Expansion is part of BAU
5 Expand Cogeneration Capacity 2023   $$$$   Ruled out after early modeling
6 Convert to Low-Temperature Hot Water (LTHW) 2024 23% $$$$ Large Savings Enables solutions 7-9 and 13. See Energy Transition Financial Impacts
7 Wastewater Heat Recovery (HR) 2032 2% $ Savings Sized to help optimize solution 8
8 Ground-Source Heating and Cooling (GHX) 2026 27% $$$$ Large Savings See Energy Transition Financial Impacts
9 Air-Source Heating and Cooling 2032 1% $ Small Savings Sized to help optimize solution 8
10 Decentralized Modern Wood Thermal System 2032 2% $$ Small Increase sized to help optimize solution 8
11 Onsite Solar PV 2020 1% none Small Savings No CAPEX assumed since this will likely be a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)
12 Renewable Fuel Oil Boiler 2021 4-5% * $ Mixed Modest savings relative to BAU since the RFO can displace ULSD. Modest cost in the energy transition scenario since RFO is more expensive than Natural Gas
13 Onsite Solar Thermal 2032 3% $ Small Savings Sized to help optimize solution 8
14 Thermal Energy Storage (TES) n/a **       Not specifically modeled as a GHG mitigation strategy
15 Anaerobic Digester n/a ** 1%     Ruled out after early modeling
16 Renewable Natural Gas 2030 35%+ none Large Increase Would likely more than double the cost of stationary fuels
17 Green Transport 2021 1% none   Only modeling the carbon impact. A modest CAPEX premium and OPEX savings would be expected
18 Renewable Energy Credits 2030 0.5-1% * none Small Increase See Energy Transition Financial Impacts
19 Carbon Offsets 2030 3-7% * none Small Increase See Energy Transition Financial Impacts
20 Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) n/a **     Large Increase Ruled out after early modeling


* Solution has a range of potential impacts depending on how and when it is deployed and/or its interactions with other solutions.
** No start year defined since Solution was not included in the recommended portfolio




NET CAPEX Required Capital Investment through 2050
none No capital investment required
$ Requires less than $10 millions dollars
$$ Requires $10 - $50 million dollars
$$$$ Requires greater than $50 million dollars
  Not evaluated


NET OPEX Impact Impact to Annual Operational Expenses
Large Increase Increase by more than 10%
Small Increase Increase by less than 10%
Mixed Depends on the impact of other solutions
Savings Decrease by less than 10%
Large Savings Decrease by more than 10%


Solutions Considered but Not Modeled

UMA’s aggressive 2030 carbon neutrality goal required consideration for as many carbon mitigation solutions as possible, including some technologies that are still being developed or that have not been implemented at the scale required for impact at UMA. After further research and investigation, some of the solutions initially considered are not viable. The following solutions have been considered under UMA’s CMP but have not been modeled for impact on carbon mitigation for the reasons described below.

Solution 5 - Expand Cogeneration Capacity

Expanding the cogeneration capacity at the CHP would provide the additional heating and electricity needs as the campus continues to grow. However, the current cogeneration systems rely on combustion of fossil fuels. Expanding these operations at the CHP would not contribute to the CMP goals of reducing carbon emissions for the campus.

Solution 14 - Thermal Energy Storage (TES)

While the initial research on the feasibility of this seasonal thermal storage in clay deposits is promising, there are currently no proven installations at the campus scale. The UMA Clean Energy Extension intends to continue researching this carbon mitigation solution.

Solution 15 - Anaerobic Digester (AD)

After reviewing AD opportunities with UMA, the campus is not interested in the large industrial nature of an onsite AD facility managed by UMA. Previous studies by UMA have identified major physical restraints related to space needs and flood zone issues that would make an AD facility challenging. As an alternative, UMA can further explore this carbon mitigation opportunity by partnering with one of the large AD facilities in the area to bring UMA organic waste to be processed at these facilities.

Solution 20 - Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

The CMTF and consulting team ruled out CCS for this plan given its current limited commercial availability and due to the uncertainly about the long-term viability CO2 storage. UMA should continue to research and monitor the development of this emerging set of technologies.