The National Western Center is a year-round, global destination for agriculture and food innovation, western heritage, and culture that will open in Denver in 2024.
The future National Western Center campus will source nearly 90 percent of its heating and cooling from an underground sewer pipeline, through an agreement between the National Western Center Authority, and EAS Energy Partners. When complete, the system will be the largest sewer-heat recovery system in North America.
The prime contractor for the design and construction of the district energy system is Campus Energy Constructors, LLC — a design-build joint venture of AECOM Technical Services and Saunders Construction.
The project entails the design and construction of a district heating and cooling system for the new National Western Center campus. The sewer heat recovery system makes use of an existing 72-inch diameter wastewater infrastructure pipe, called the Delgany Interceptor. The sewer heat recovery system is an innovative technology that heats and cools buildings with recycled thermal energy from nearby pipelines.
The 8,790-square-foot central utility plant (CUP), located near 4700 Packing House Road, is an unoccupied, pre-engineered metal building. The CUP’s mechanical system will pump warm clean water via an underground network of pipes to campus buildings, instead of each building having its own heating and cooling system. All mechanical equipment will be located inside the building except for a cooling tower, transformer, and generator. The CUP also includes a wet well screening system, which ties into the wastewater pipe.
The planned system uses both sewer-heat recovery and a district energy approach. Sewer heat recovery systems pull thermal energy from wastewater instead of burning natural gas. Using this system, the 250-acre campus will avoid emitting an estimated 2,600 metric tons of carbon (CO2) per year.
Image credits: Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center; National Western Center Authority; AECOM