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An artist's conceptual rendering of the new Cogeneration Facility, as viewed from the southeast.

It’s time to say goodbye to the BYU smokestack.

The iconic stack, which has been a part of campus since 1958, will be torn down with other parts of the Central Heating Plant starting this week to make way for a new Cogeneration Facility.

Cogeneration facilities are stations or plants that generate both useful heat and electricity at the same time. Construction of the facility, which will be integrated into the Central Heating Plant located south of the Crabtree Building, is expected to be completed by summer 2018.


The BYU smokestack.

Historically gas and coal have been used in the Central Heating Plant to heat and cool campus. BYU’s new Cogeneration Facility will replace the coal boilers with a natural-gas-powered turbine while two of the natural gas-fired boilers will remain as backup.

The new facility will provide heating and cooling capabilities for campus and will offset 30 to 50 percent of BYU’s current electrical needs, all without burning coal.

“Additionally, a Co-Gen facility is considered a green source of power and will reduce our emissions significantly,” said Paul Greenwood, BYU director of engineering and utilities.

The soon-to-be-demolished smokestack hasn’t been used since November 2, the last day BYU used coal to meet heating and cooling needs on campus. BYU has now completely eliminated the practice of burning coal, which has been one of the major fuel sources for campus through its history.

The stack will be torn down incrementally by crews both manually and by backhoe and will eventually be replaced by three smaller stacks on the new Co-Gen facility, each roughly half the height of the current stack and much smaller in diameter.