Engineering Services

The Engineering Services Department is responsible for properly operating and
maintaining the campus infrastructure. Engineering Services provides the University community with reliable commercial and residential utilities, environmental comfort and use, and retail food service support.

The mission and intent of Engineering Services is to create utility and campus systems that are resilient against the unknown and to enable its mechanics, electricians, plumbers, and technicians to solve acute problems through continuous learning, listening, and teaching. 

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  • Boiler Plant

    The campus is served by an extensive steam distribution system that operates at 75 psig. Over a mile of tunnels house the steam pipes and condensate return system, as well as conduits for high voltage electrical lines and telecommunications cables. Maintenance and operation of this system is provided by the Boiler Plant staff, who man the plant around the clock and also respond to urgent Facilities needs after normal hours. They can be reached by calling (804) 289-8600.

  • Electrical

    The University distributes power campus-wide by an underground 4160 volt three phase system. Building transformers convert this to 480 volt and 208/120 volt for use within the buildings. Lighting is generally fluorescent with a strong program of upgrading to LED (light-emitting diode), using the energy conserving state-of-the-art electronic ballasts and high output lamps. New tubes are environmentally friendly low mercury content, and all spent tubes are recycled. Exterior lights are photocell and time clock controlled.

    The University has 46 elevators and several smaller lifts maintained under contract, and current operating certificates are on file at the Facilities office.

    Fire Alarm systems are networked into the Police Department dispatch center, and utilize the campus fiber optic network for communications.

    The electrical shop also maintains the scoreboards and field lighting, and provides technicians at major events to monitor sound and power.

    Dominion Energy Outage Map

  • Energy Management

    Campus heating and cooling equipment is monitored by the Energy Management and Controls team. The team is made up of three technicians with over 40 years of industry experience.

    Campus buildings are brought into a system that is monitored by the team to track indoor climate conditions as well as equipment performance and status. This system allows the team to diagnose issues and dispatch technicians when needed to fix or repair a piece of equipment. The system also tracks historical data that can be used to troubleshoot issues in buildings as well as individual equipment.

    The Energy Management Team designs and programs the control system for campus buildings and makes changes when needed. They also use the system to schedule the HVAC equipment for buildings for occupied hours and special events. The team uses the scheduling as part of its energy management strategy. They also use complex algorithms to automatically adjust temperature setpoints based on outdoor temperature and humidity conditions, indoor temperature and humidity conditions, indoor CO2 levels, as well as space occupancy levels.


    Electricity is purchased from Dominion Energy for all the campus facilities. The main campus is connected to a 34,500-volt substation, and is distributed on University owned circuits at 4,160 volts.

    Learn more about UR’s Climate Action Plan.

  • HVAC

    Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

    The University of Richmond has many different types of air-conditioning systems that serve the climate control needs of the campus. They range from residential heat pumps at the University Forest Apartments to large, sophisticated commercial systems.

    University Facilities incorporates some innovative energy conservation systems, such as ice-storage systems that operate at night to take advantage of the lower cost, off-peak utility power. All new equipment utilizes non-CFC refrigerants and low-energy-consumption compressors. Preventive maintenance includes regular air filter changes, lubrication and adjustments, and safety device calibrations by certified technicians.

  • Plumbing


    Plumbers maintain the campus water distribution system and sanitary sewers. Water fountains, showers, sinks, and toilets are the part that most people see; however, most of the infrastructure for these systems is below ground or in building walls. The department also works closely with Safety Services to inspect and maintain fire systems and hydrants on campus to ensure proper operation.

    Water is provided by the City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities and Henrico County Department of Public Utilities.