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The other day, some restauraunts in the union were closed "due to steam outage." I had seen the venting of course, but had thought little about why the school has a steam system. As best I can find, steam is usually used for heat distribution from a central heat plant; more efficient, etc. But the average yearly low temperature here is 57 degrees. What purpose does the system serve?

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Steam networks are used for heating (there are still heaters in use on the gulf coast), creating hot water, and any other energy loads a university might need. I suspect that the restaurants in question didn't have hot water.

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