Due to current global energy market conditions, experts predict that the New England wholesale natural gas market may enjoy more stable conditions during periods of extended cold and high demand this winter. Increased imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to New England could prevent the price spikes that have historically occurred due to shortages in the local market.
In this Boston Globe article, Brant Davis, VP of commodity management at SourceOne, explains why Boston has become a lucrative destination for LNG importers and how this greater supply will impact energy costs.
Read the Boston Globe article HERE!
Feasibility study represents the first step towards energy independence for the City of Ithaca
Following the award of a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) New York Prize grant, the City of Ithaca and its stakeholders, including Unchained Properties, Ithaca Community Energy, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility, have initiated a study to evaluate the feasibility of installing and operating a community microgrid to supply localized energy to the community. Community microgrids, or local energy networks, have the ability to separate from the larger electrical grid and, in some configurations, provide heating and cooling in the event of a grid outage or natural disaster.
With an established and successful track record working with cities and towns across the nation on complex energy conversion and reliability issues, SourceOne was selected to perform the feasibility study. “By exploring a range of supply and demand side solutions, the City of Ithaca is adopting a strategic approach to ensure energy reliability,” said Matt Cinadr, project manager at SourceOne. “We applaud the city in pursuing the most sustainable, reliable and cost effective energy solution for the community and its residents.”
By developing access to independent energy sources, Ithaca will be better positioned to support critical facilities during power outages, provide more sustainable, clean energy to the community and build reliability and resiliency into the electric grid.
Read the full press release HERE
Recognizing leadership and innovation in NYC energy management
Each year the New York Energy Consumers Council (NYECC) honors organizations and individuals who have demonstrated exceptional qualities of vision, innovation, and leadership in energy management by presenting them with an Energy New York Award (ENYA). As the largest energy customer advocacy organization in New York State, NYECC has successfully supported New York’s electric and steam consumers over the last half-century. By engaging in the public rate making process and supporting education and regulatory intervention, the NYECC has helped save utility customers millions of dollars.
This year on September 30th from 6-9 pm, NYECC will honor some of New York’s energy leaders and the critical infrastructure projects that are helping to redefine the energy landscape of New York. Hosted at the Tribeca Rooftop, the 2015 Energy New York Awards will celebrate energy leadership, vision, and impact - combined with great company, food and drinks! Join SourceOne and other energy leaders at this unique event, celebrating the organizations and individuals who have advanced energy reliability and the economic competitiveness of New York.
Celebrate energy leadership, vision, and impact
When: September 30th from 6-9 pm (rain or shine)
Where: Tribeca Rooftop, 2 Desbrosses Street, New York NY
~Premium Open Bar~
~Passed Hors D'Oeuvres~
~Sushi Bar & Dim Sum Station~
~Sliders, Pasta, and Salad Stations~
Groundbreaking national policy to reduce carbon pollution
On August 3rd 2015, President Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled the final Clean Power Plan – a historic step in reducing carbon pollution linked to harming human health and advancing climate change. As the first national standard addressing carbon pollution, the Clean Power Plan seeks to take real action on climate change – cutting carbon pollution from the power sector 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, while advancing clean energy innovation, development and deployment. “By 2030, the net public health and climate-related benefits from the Clean Power Plan are estimated to be worth $45 billion every year. And, by design, the Clean Power Plan is projected to cut the average American’s monthly electricity bill by 7% in 2030” (Source: EPA Blog: 6 Things Every American Should Know About the Clean Power Plan).
A national standard, customized to each state
By providing national consistency, while setting individual carbon dioxide (CO2) emission reduction targets for each state, the Clean Power Plan allows each state to develop plans based on its unique energy mix of affected sources. Final plans for each state are required by September 6, 2016 and no later than September 6, 2018 for those states granted an extension. “The Clean Power Plan simply makes sure that fossil fuel-fired power plants will operate more cleanly and efficiently, while expanding the capacity for zero- and low-emitting power sources” (Source: EPA Fact Sheet: Overview of the Clean Power Plan). Fortunately, there are several tools available today that states can take advantage of to reduce emissions, including combined heat and power systems (CHP).
CHP can conservatively contribute approximately 46 million metric tons in CO2 emissions savings nationwide in the year 2030, according to American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
CHP provides environmental advantages and economic benefits
CHP, also known as cogeneration, is a sustainable and efficient energy solution that recycles waste heat from its electricity generation process and converts it into useful thermal energy – achieving up to 80 percent efficiency. Traditional methods of separately producing electricity in power plants and heat and steam in boilers require the consumption of significantly higher volumes of fuel relative to CHP. Because CHP uses the same fuel source for both heat and power, it lowers resource demands and fuel costs, provides an on-site, reliable power source and results in reduced carbon emissions and air pollutants.
CHP is a well-established technology widely used at industrial facilities, hospitals and university campuses to provide energy reliability, reduce operating costs, meet high process loads and ensure 24/7 heating and cooling requirements. According to The Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, “The Clean Power Plan will make manufacturers more competitive, support new jobs, improve grid reliability, and cut electricity costs for all ratepayers. It is commonsense that companies that use less energy to produce iron, steel and paper will save money on their electric bills. Through this rule, states can help manufacturers save as much as 50 percent on energy costs, giving them new resources to increase productivity and innovation. Governors should seize this opportunity and include CHP and waste heat to power (WHP) in their plans”
Representing a critical strategy to cost-effectively reduce emissions, CHP is an underutilized resource with the potential for increased deployment in every state. In a recent report, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimated that CHP can conservatively contribute more than 68 million megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity savings nationwide in the year 2030, which equates to a reduction of approximately 46 million metric tons in CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that if CHP provided 20 percent of U.S. electric capacity - up from the 12 percent it represents today - it could support one million new jobs.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if CHP provided 20 percent of U.S. electric capacity - up from the 12 percent it represents today - it could support one million new jobs.
How states can implement CHP to comply with Clean Power Plan requirements
By leveraging this energy-efficient technology, CHP can help states comply with their obligations under EPA’s Clean Power Plan. In fact, the ACEEE has released a step-by-step guide to help states effectively do that. This tool provides guidance on how to document and claim emissions reductions resulting from CHP measures in a state’s plan. ACEEE also offers a State and Utility Pollution Reduction (SUPR) Calculator as a tool to evaluate how much CHP could help your state toward achieving its Clean Power Plan emissions reduction target.
“States can strengthen the reliability of all of their electricity customers by including CHP in their compliance plans,” notes Elinor Haider, Vice President of Market Development at Veolia, one of the nation’s largest CHP developers and Alliance Steering Committee Member. “Because a CHP system can operate independent of the grid, they are more resilient, remaining online during extreme weather events that can lead to power outages. We witnessed the benefits firsthand during Superstorm Sandy in October 2013. While nearly eight-million residents across the Mid Atlantic lost power, the CHP system we helped implement kept the lights on at New York University and allowed the University to serve as a place of refuge during the storm.”
Learn more about CHP and its benefits:
- “10 Reasons States Should Include CHP in Clean Power Plans,” The Pew Charitable Trusts, March 24, 2015
- Cogeneration: The Independent Solution – An Example from NYU
- “Finally, Growth Re-Ignites in the Industrial, Commercial & Institutional CHP Market,” Climate Change Business Journal, Volume VI, No. 11, November 2013
- To CHP, or Not to CHP? The Process of Evaluating Combined Heat and Power
- Massachusetts Hospital and Medical Research Campus finds Resiliency with CHP
- Cogeneration plant for a global biotechnology company avoids 36,000 tons carbon emissions annually
- 64 MW Simple Cycle Power Plant creates new generation capacity to meet the electricity demand for Vineland, NJ
- SourceOne achieves $2.3 million in incentives for Lahey Clinic, paving the way for a new CHP plant, Medical Construction and Design, July/August 2013
- “Massachusetts portfolio programme backs CHP,” Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production, Volume 13, Issue 6, Nov 28, 2012
- “Combined Heat and Power Evaluation, Step by Step,” Energy Manager Today, November 5, 2013
As the popular saying goes, ‘Without data you're just another person with an opinion.’ This adage certainly holds true when managing commercial properties, manufacturing plants, central energy plants or refineries. According to Rocky Mountain Institute, “Most U.S. buildings’ expenses break down into a similar distribution —largely fixed costs, followed by utility bills, repairs and maintenance expenses (R/M). On average, building owners spend 22% of their operating costs on energy and water.” Since industrial facilities typically require extremely energy-intensive equipment and operations, utility expenses can be significantly more.
Without data you're just another person with an opinion
ENERGY STAR estimates that while $400 billion is spent on energy costs for U.S. commercial buildings and industrial facilities annually, thirty percent of this energy is wasted. With 45 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions attributed to commercial buildings and industrial facilities, it’s strikingly clear that commercial and industrial facilities need to do a lot more to reduce utility consumption. However, in order to be able to reduce consumption, you first need to know exactly how much you’re using. With accurate data on utility usage, you’re not ‘just another person with an opinion.’ Being able to accurately calculate and track utility consumption on a granular level allows facility owners and managers to uncover efficiency opportunities and make informed decisions based on factual data.
You can't manage what you don't measure
Without accurate data, your plant may not be running optimally – potentially impacting profitability, performance and sustainability. Since the average plant has hundreds of gauges and other complicated instrumentation, the odds are high that a number of devices are not producing accurate readings or not working at all. This becomes further complicated when managing multiple sites comprised of differing infrastructure, equipment and varying fuel sources. Furthermore, plant conditions change over time due to a wide range of reasons, including ownership, management or staffing changes, regulatory issues, fuel variability, installation of new equipment or meter upgrades, etc. Even if an existing metering or monitoring system is in place, these changing conditions over time can significantly impair the accuracy of the efficiency and performance data collected.
Uncovering efficiency and cost saving opportunities
An instrumentation audit includes a focused and in-depth assessment of metering architecture, sensors, and gauges and identifies corrective actions to ensure optimum performance. Once data quality assurance is achieved, ongoing efficiency monitoring via advanced metering and a centralized web-based software system is imperative to efficiently managing a large-scale portfolio – whether these facilities are commercial buildings or industrial plants.
Building and plant operators are better able to react and adjust equipment, controls and/or meter performance based on high-quality, real-time data. Understanding plant performance not only allows management to make adjustments that increase efficiency and profitability, but also typically results in reduced consumption of raw fuel – yielding significant additional savings and GHG emissions reductions. Initiating a nation-wide instrumentation audit has proved to be extremely beneficial to Veolia North America – operator of the largest portfolio of district energy systems in North America.
Launching the Veolia Efficiency Optimization System
With a district energy fleet incorporating central plants of differing types and vintages with varying fuel sources and energy outputs, Veolia operates and maintains a diverse portfolio of district energy systems in 12 major cities across the United States. In 2014, Veolia required granular efficiency data across its portfolio and a centralized database to monitor and optimize its district energy plants nationwide. With in-house expertise in energy efficiency and energy plant operations and management (O&M), Veolia chose to leverage its own district energy and software experts to design and implement the Veolia Efficiency Optimization System (VEOS) – a data acquisition system which provides real-time equipment and plant efficiency data.
Due to its multi-faceted energy and software development expertise, Veolia is unique in the sense that they are able to design their own software application. However, for most corporations this would typically require either investment in an outsourced Software as a Service (SaaS) user interface or contracting a consultant to develop a custom data management solution. With the development VEOS underway, Veolia turned to its energy consulting business, SourceOne, to facilitate the comprehensive data collection and instrumentation audit comprising twenty-five district energy plants across the U.S.
National instrumentation audit yields efficiency opportunities
As part of the development of Veolia’s integrated plant efficiency monitoring system, VEOS, Sourceone is currently evaluating existing metering and instrumentation at each of Veolia’s district heating, chilled water, and cogeneration facilities. These detailed evaluations and reports determine the availability and accuracy of data necessary to calculate actual and target efficiencies on both the plant and equipment level and provide recommendations for optimizing current instrumentation and metering architecture.
Since plant equipment varies in size, age and condition across Veolia’s district energy portfolio, the VEOS investigations require comprehensive field audits to verify facility records, document current configurations, identify required metering enhancements and validate metered energy reporting techniques for wide variety of utilities, including electric, chilled water, hot water, natural gas, oil, super-heated steam and saturated steam. Energy flow streams are measured using a variety of both cutting-edge and tried-and-true instrument technologies. Interviews conducted with on-staff operations and maintenance personnel are also required to comprehensively document current procedures and institutional knowledge.
Each audit results in an in-depth report highlighting current plant configurations, instrumentation, conditions and opportunities for efficiency improvements. Although this nationwide audit is still currently underway, SourceOne has completed evaluations for half of the designated plants – uncovering several opportunities for improvements.
Understanding where you are is the first step to planning where you need to go
With accurate performance data, industrial and commercial building owners are better equipped to make educated decisions regarding budgeting, hiring, procurement, investments and efficiency improvements that will yield savings, reduce GHG emissions and improve profitability. By validating and streamlining utility data via an instrumentation audit, smart-metering technology and a centralized web-based data management system, Veolia is gaining a crystal clear understanding of plant performance nationwide. Based on this data, Veolia is making informed decisions to further reduce fuel and electricity usage, lower its carbon footprint and launch efficiency projects at its district energy facilities throughout the U.S.
As a testament to the importance of metering, data management systems and accurately assessing efficiency data, Veolia and SourceOne joined together in June 2015 to present on this topic at the International District Energy Association’s 106th Annual Conference and Trade Show. Download the presentation HERE.
The concept of the ‘smart city’ has emerged in recent years and is continuing to evolve as technology advances and resource requirements are stretched. More than half of the world population now lives in cities and these expanding urban areas are responsible for 80% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and account for 60% and 75% of global drinking water and energy consumption, respectively. The smart city aims to find solutions to the growing scarcity of resources and climate change, all while improving the quality of life of its citizens.
You can't have a smart city without smart buildings
By adapting and implementing more efficient and automated management of its buildings and infrastructure (water, energy, waste management, information and telecommunications, public facilities, recycling and sorting, etc.), cities and towns can better serve residents, all while helping to protect the environment. A key component in defining a building as ‘smart,’ is its efficient delivery and consumption of water and energy – both critical and limited resources. Although with the integration of advanced metering and software technologies, buildings are now equipped to help conserve these precious resources while efficiently meeting the utility needs of building occupants.
How metering and software solutions help make buildings smart
Sub-metering, data management, and utility management software solutions, allow building owners and municipalities to track energy and water usage by department or tenant and bill and/or budget future use based on actual consumption. This enhances energy and water savings by tracking and identifying any deficiencies - enabling more accurate budgeting, spurring energy efficiency retrofits and motivating building occupants to be more conscientious about their consumption. The ability to leverage advanced web-based systems and metering to track granular utility data has proven critical to Vornado Realty Trust (Vornado), one of the largest owners and managers of commercial real estate in the United States.
Vornado lowers its carbon footprint and recovers millions with smart-metering
Because commercial buildings account for the bulk of building infrastructure in urban areas and on average waste 30 percent of the energy they consume, commercial property owners represent a critical component in paving the way for smarter buildings and cities. With a portfolio over 100 million square feet, consisting of office, retail, and residential property, Vornado leverages smart metering technology and software to track energy use across its portfolio. Incorporating over 3000 meters, Vornado’s fully designed, scalable, and innovative metering and data management solution has enabled granular insight into tenant energy consumption across its portfolio, helping to drive sustainability initiatives and efficiency projects, while streamlining tenant utility cost recovery.
For nearly a decade, SourceOne has been providing meter data management and sub-metering design and installation for Vornado’s properties in New York and California. In 2013 SourceOne integrated its web-based energy management system, EMsys, to help support Vornado’s sustainability and energy management efforts. This web-based tool integrates historical energy and water usage, temperature, humidity and environmental data and enables tenant’s access to their electricity bill, energy usage and data. By serving as a central repository, through which meter data and historic utility data is collected and tracked, EMsys supports real time monitoring of energy consumption, reporting of consumption and green-house-gas emissions (GHG), and customizable tenant energy invoices based on individual leases.
By leveraging the EMsys energy management software and smart-metering, Vornado is able to recover millions in tenant utility costs, budget for future consumption and drive energy conservation and infrastructure investments that have a direct impact on reducing carbon emissions. In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded Vornado an ENERGY STAR® Sustained Excellence Award for its efforts in protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency. (Learn more about the award and Vornado’s energy management achievements HERE).
Strategic utility management for smart urban growth
Strategic energy and water management by local governments, residents, and commercial property owners is critical to ensuring 'smart' urban growth for metropolitan cities. By leveraging technology and digital tools to better track, manage and reduce water and energy consumption, building owners and municipal governments are helping to lower their carbon footprint, improve the delivery and quality of utility services, save money and pave the way towards creating smarter, more sustainable cities.
What do the businesses Tishman Speyer, Vornado Realty Trust and SL Green Realty Corp all have in common? If you said they are all very successful real estate investment trust’s (REIT) headquartered in New York City, you’d be correct! However, a little known commonality exists between these REIT’s: robust and strategic energy management. As leaders in the energy efficiency movement across the country, these firms are integrating energy management practices, tools and strategies at their commercial properties to save energy and money. In fact, one might argue that energy management is a significant contributing factor in each of these REIT’s business success.
Tishman Speyer, Vornado and SL Green receive ENERGY STAR Awards
By leveraging tools and strategies, such as energy management software and metering, these commercial building owners are able to access granular energy consumption data to help recover tenant utility costs, budget for future consumption and drive energy conservation and infrastructure investments that have a direct impact on reducing carbon emissions. In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded each of these firm’s an ENERGY STAR® Award for making outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency. Although each real estate firm is unique in its approach, they each share a common vision to develop and adopt world-class strategies that provide substantial energy and money savings in the buildings where we live and work.
SL Green Realty Corp
As New York City’s largest office landlord, SL Green Realty Corp is a REIT that primarily acquires, owns, manages, leases, and repositions office properties in Manhattan, with an expanding retail and multifamily portfolio. SL Green is receiving the ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year recognition for its robust energy management program. For example, through energy management software and metering, SL Green has made significant strides in managing its energy consumption and tracking energy use at its properties.
For nearly a decade, SL Green has partnered with SourceOne to support energy management and sub-metering initiatives at a number of its New York City properties. By leveraging SourceOne’s support in upgrading its tenant sub-metering infrastructure and implementing EMsys, SourceOne’s web-based energy management software, SL Green can monitor usage data in real time, generate invoices customized to each tenant’s lease and access a powerful suite of tools designed to track energy cost recovery performance from an individual sub-meter to an entire portfolio of buildings.
Key 2014 accomplishments noted by ENERGY STAR include:
- Investing more than $35 million in energy efficiency projects since 2010, including light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, and HVAC, and real time energy management initiatives to save more than $13 million annually with an average project payback of only three years.
- Earning ENERGY STAR certification for 16 properties and more than 8.5 million square feet of building space.
- Benchmarking its properties through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® and applying for ENERGY STAR certification for eligible buildings. Since the launch of its benchmarking program in 2010, more than 25 properties, totaling 11.5 million square feet have received this designation.
- Extensive tenant outreach and education program to communicate the importance of sustainability and energy efficiency.
- Developing an annual sustainability report, including greenhouse gas emissions reporting and future program development.
Tishman Speyer is one of the leading owners, developers, operators, and fund managers of first-class real estate in the world. Tishman Speyer leverages a number of tools and processes that have contributed to its 2015 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year recognition.
Over the past three years, SourceOne has rolled out the implementation of a web-based energy monitoring system at more than 60 properties, in addtion to installing advanced metering architecture and hardware at several sites. Using these tools, along with ENERGY STAR's Portfolio Manager, Tishman Speyer is better able to track detailed energy consumption to drive operational, maintenance and facility improvements.
Key 2014 accomplishments noted by ENERGY STAR include:
- Benchmarking its entire U.S. property portfolio in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® and earning an average score of more than 78 - representing an 8 percent improvement over the past four years.
- Combining real-time monitoring with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager metrics to develop new operational, maintenance and facility improvements.
- Developing Tishman Speyer University to take internal lessons-learned and best practices to its global management platform.
- Spearheading New York City efforts to mandate energy benchmarking for all commercial real estate properties. Achieved certification of more than 20 buildings in 2014.
- Developing Tishman Speyer University to take internal lessons-learned and best practices to its global management platform.
- Spearheading New York City efforts to mandate energy benchmarking for all commercial real estate properties. Achieved certification of more than 20 buildings in 2014.
Vornado Realty Trust
Vornado Realty Trust is a fully integrated Real Estate Investment Trust with more than 40 million square feet of property. With its sophisticated and strategic approach to energy management, Vornado is receiving the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year—Sustained Excellence recognition. "You can't manage what you don't measure" is a common management adage which applies to energy as well. Over the years, Vornado has become a pioneer in the sub-metering of its properties and leveraging smart metering technology to track energy use across its portfolio. These strategies have enabled Vornado to gain granular insight into energy consumption, helping to drive sustainability initiatives and efficiency projects, while streamlining tenant utility cost recovery.
For nearly a decade, SourceOne has been providing meter data management and sub-metering design and installation for Vornado’s properties in New York and California. In 2013 SourceOne integrated its web-based energy management system, EMsys, to help support Vornado’s energy management efforts. This web-based tool integrates historical energy and water usage, temperature, humidity and environmental data and enables tenant’s access to their electricity bill, energy usage and data. By serving as a central repository, through which meter data and historic utility data is collected and tracked, EMsys supports real time monitoring of energy consumption, reporting of consumption and green-house-gas emissions (GHG), and customizable tenant energy invoices based on individual leases. By using the power of data, innovative technology and a comprehensive outreach and communications platform, Vornado has demonstrated its energy management leadership.
Key 2014 accomplishments noted by ENERGY STAR include:
- Funding more than $5 million of base-building energy efficiency projects expected to result in an annual energy reduction of 14 million kilowatt hours with an average three-year payback period.
- Enrolling all of its eligible buildings in EPA’s 2014 ENERGY STAR National Building Competition.
- Providing energy efficiency-related training to more than 500 employees.
- Using Vornado’s Tenant Service Center (TSC), one of the largest energy management and building systems control centers in the United States.
- Using technology platforms on a portfolio scale allows the TSC to conduct analysis and implement operational strategies that yield an 8- to 14-percent reduction in energy in a typical building.
- Achieved certification of more than 15 buildings in 2014.
On Earth day, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New York Port Authority (NYPA) were recognized for the successful completion of MTA's largest-ever energy efficiency project, which will save about $2.5 million in annual energy costs at Grand Central Terminal. As the implementing contractor for NYPA's energy conservation programs, SourceOne managed the design, implementation and commissioning for the $25 million infrastructure improvements at the iconic Grand Central. Read the MTA press release and SourceOne's blog post about the Grand Central project to learn more!
Hospitals and medical facilities are required to provide reliable, consistent care for their patients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This means that utilities, such as heating and cooling, hot and chilled water and electricity, also need to be reliable and accessible at all times. Unfortunately, storms, overloads and security breaches pose significant threats to the traditional electric grid and can result in grid failures and utility outages- putting medical facilities and their patients at high-risk. Grid-interconnected distributed generation, such district energy or an on-site power generation source like Combined Heat and Power (CHP), eliminates that risk and often lowers utility costs.
District energy and CHP technology help strengthen the local energy supply, while providing greater efficiencies over traditional generation. Relying solely on the electric grid is an option. However, it is demonstrably less reliable, particularly for hospitals and healthcare facilities that require 24/7 operations even under the most challenging circumstances. Employing the use of various energy sources, such as a district network or CHP, can help mitigate power disruptions, optimize efficiencies, and provide significant environmental benefits. In fact, most district energy systems integrate CHP technology due to its efficiencies and reliability.
CHP: A sustainable solution for medical institutions
CHP uses an on-site system to generate electricity and thermal energy by capturing waste heat produced during electricity generation and can exceed 80 percent efficiency. Traditional methods of separately producing electricity in power plants and heat and steam in boilers require the consumption of significantly higher volumes of fuel relative to CHP. Because CHP uses the same fuel source for both heat and power, it lowers resource demands and fuel costs, while providing 24/7 facilities with an on-site reliable power source. In addition, CHP’s simultaneous production of power and thermal energy results in lower carbon emissions than if produced separately, especially when paired with an efficient fuel source such as natural gas or renewable fuels.
The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMass Medical School) in Worcester, Massachusetts is an excellent example of a healthcare institution leveraging advanced CHP technology to supply its critical energy needs – while also reducing its carbon footprint. As a leading hospital and university in Massachusetts, the UMass Medical School campus houses a hospital, medical school and the new 500,000 square foot, $400 million Albert Sherman Center research and education facility, all of which necessitate reliable energy in order to provide dependable care for patients and to preserve valuable research.
As part of the UMass Medical School’s Climate Action Plan and pledge to the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, it is aiming to be climate neutral by 2060. As one of the fastest-growing academic health centers in the country, UMass Medical School is also committed to expanding its research and academic campus. With the planned addition of the new Sherman Center, UMass Medical School required expanded energy requirements to meet the additional campus demand, without increasing carbon emissions. To ensure that energy requirements for the state-of-the-art research and educational facility were met, while meeting climate commitments, UMass Medical School looked to CHP.
Finding a reliable energy source for a 24/7 facility
Reducing energy use while accommodating growth is a common problem faced by institutions looking to improve sustainability and the operational success of their facilities. As UMass Medical School’s owner’s representative for the new research and education facility, PMA Consultants sought energy consulting support from SourceOne related to the expanded energy requirements. Through the advice of SourceOne’s energy experts and PMA, the medical school opted to expand its existing 10 megawatt (MW) plant to accommodate the campus’ additional energy needs. With its location in western Massachusetts, far from the robust district energy network in Boston-Cambridge, expanding UMass Medical School’s existing CHP plant was deemed the most efficient and economical choice. For this project, PMA retained SourceOne as the owner’s representative and independent engineer for the CHP plant expansion to provide technical expertise, project coordination and on site project engineering, startup and commissioning.
While almost every hospital and medical facility has an emergency backup generator, CHP provides reliable energy independence from the electric grid and can seamlessly transition from on-grid to off-grid power. Using grid power and then switching to an emergency backup generator can cause patient care to stall, diagnostics to be delayed and losses in vital research due to temperature fluctuations. When off-grid power sources like CHP or district energy are used, these risks can be avoided. Furthermore, backup generators often produce less electricity, less efficiently; whereas CHP and district energy is significantly more efficient.
Implementing CHP for reliability, growth and sustainability
Completed in 2013, the new central plant expansion included the installation of a 7.5 megawatt, gas-fired combustion turbine and associated heat recovery system, which replaced the UMass Medical School’s oil-fired steam boilers. The new jet engine-powered turbine produces 60,000 pounds of high-pressure steam per hour which is used to drive two of the plant’s existing electric generators and feed the campus’ steam distribution network to heat buildings and drive compressors that make chilled water for the campus’s cooling systems. The expansion increased electricity, steam and water-chilling capacity, but actually reduced overall greenhouse gas emissions because the turbine is more efficient than the previous boiler system, despite the added energy load from the new buildings. In fact, because the cogeneration power plant expansion increased capacity while reducing carbon emissions, National Grid granted UMass Medical School a $5.6 million incentive in support of the project.
By generating its own steam, chilled water and electricity, UMass Medical School has doubled its campus research capacity, while achieving 58,000 MWh of annual electricity savings, or $6.2 million in savings a year - a payback period of less than 3 years. In March 2015, the Northeast Clean Heat and Power Initiative (NECHPI) honored UMass Medical School with a “Clean Heat and Power Champion” award for its expanded CHP plant and for ‘championing’ the development of clean heat and power throughout the Northeast.
By leveraging the guidance of qualified energy consulting experts and keeping sustainability top-of-mind, UMass Medical School has achieved significant financial, environmental and operational benefits with its CHP plant expansion. Thanks to its environmentally-friendly CHP technology, UMass Medical School can rely on a 24/7 energy supply to treat its patients and continue its advances in clinical research and health care delivery.
As one of the busiest train stations in the country and the largest in the world by number of platforms, the iconic Grand Central Terminal lies in the heart of midtown Manhattan and provides services to approximately 750,000 people per day. Built in 1913 in the neoclassical Beaux-Arts architectural style, the splendor and grandeur of the historic Terminal is reminiscent of a time in American history when rail travel was in its heyday and trains were the most efficient means of long-distance commuting.
Described as "the world's loveliest station," this mammoth, 49-acre, pink-granite complex is leased and operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), a state transportation agency. The Terminal boasts cavernous spaces and meticulously crafted detail, including a gleaming marble Main Concourse extending 125 feet high and chandeliers and lighting fixtures featuring over 60,000 bare, exposed light bulbs – a reflection of an innovative turn-of-the-century invention: the electric lightbulb.
One Hundred Years of Innovation at Grand Central
As one of the world’s first all-electric buildings, the Terminal was considered pioneering when it opened over a century ago. Constructed to better accommodate ever-growing rail traffic into the restricted Midtown area, the bi-level century-old station integrates a system of efficient circulation within the Terminal and between the city's streets, trains, subways and adjacent buildings. The facility also introduced new electrification technology, allowing the trains to run underground. This innovative technology avoided the soot and smog produced by steam locomotives, opened up valuable air rights on the streets above and created a resurgence of development in the area — paving the way for the modern midtown Manhattan we know today.
Today, the Terminal remains a design and technology innovator. Following the completion of a four-year, energy-saving renovation project at Grand Central Terminal in 2014, the complex will save an estimated $3.3 million annually and avoid 10,000 tons of carbon emissions.
Comprehensive Energy Efficiency at a National Historic Landmark
As an implementing contractor for NYPA’s energy conservation programs, SourceOne was contracted by NYPA to manage the design, implementation and commissioning for the $22.3 million in infrastructure improvements at Grand Central. Serving under a multi-year contract for NYPA, SourceOne is implementing energy efficiency projects at several facilities of NYPA electricity customers in New York City and Westchester County. As a customer of New York Power Authority (NYPA), the MTA has leveraged NYPA’s innovative energy efficiency programs to conserve energy and save money. A leader in promoting energy efficiency, developing alternative energy sources and advancing clean transportation initiatives, NYPA's award-winning energy efficiency programs have contributed to New York’s ambitious environmental goals and has saved New York State taxpayers an estimated $6.4 million a year on energy costs at public facilities.
Energy efficiency encompasses a wide range of cost-saving energy conservation and planning initiatives to minimize energy usage, maximize savings and reduce carbon footprint. In order to address inefficiencies, energy usage must first be quantified via an energy audit by a trained engineer. The objective of an energy audit is first to quantify and analyze usage and then to identify applicable Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) to increase energy efficiency and generate energy savings.
Following a comprehensive energy audit where several ECMs were identified, SourceOne managed the extensive utility system upgrades at the Terminal, including new controls, lighting, chillers, cooling towers, fans, compressors, air handlers, metering and tenant sub-metering systems, extensive steam distribution system modifications and a new a state-of-the-art Building Management System (BMS).
One of the more challenging aspects of the comprehensive energy conservation project at the national landmark building was completed in 2014 with the replacement of the Terminal’s antiquated cooling system. This proved to be a complicated endeavor considering the Terminal’s location in the heart of bustling Midtown Manhattan, the largest central business district in the United States.
Grand Central - One of the ‘Coolest’ Places in NYC
Using a crane and a carefully coordinated rigging operation, several cooling towers on the roof of the Terminal were replaced with new efficient stainless steel cooling towers in 2014. Completed in two stages at night to ensure safety and minimize disruptions, the massive equipment was hoisted up and over the south façade of the Terminal, above the iconic statue of Mercury and a priceless Tiffany clock and placed atop the century-old facility, invisible from the street below. The installation of the equipment required detailed coordination and scheduling due to the sheer size of the units, the Terminal’s location in Manhattan’s urban core and the construction permitting requirements within New York City.
The new energy efficient cooling towers work in tandem with four new centrifugal chillers located in the subbasement of the Terminal to efficiently cool the facility. With the use of Terminal’s new building management system, the operation of the pumps, cooling towers and chillers have been optimized using variable speed fans to control air flow based on demand and temperature fluctuations. In addition, the cooling towers have been equipped with improved monitoring and are controlled remotely to regulate the speed and flow of the equipment — providing optimal performance, energy savings and water savings by limiting the water consumption used in cooling.
Award Recognizes Terminal’s Energy Innovation
As technology advances and new solutions arise for streamlining energy consumption, building owners are challenged to continuously optimize the efficiencies of their properties. This is particularly complicated for historic property owners that need to consider not only potential energy savings, but also the protection of the property’s materials and features. Through a holistic approach and evaluation of all aspects of the building envelope and its systems, the energy efficiency improvements at the historic Terminal were strategically implemented to avoid impacts to the facility’s historic characteristics.
In recognition of the $23.4 million Grand Central Terminal energy project, the MTA agency was awarded with a BuildSmart NY Innovators Award at the first annual "BuildSmart NY Innovators Summit" in 2014. The award recognizes the MTA for its innovative energy-savings and financing strategies. With its modern systems and efficiency improvements, the complex will save an estimated $3.3 million and 5.5 million kilowatts of electricity annually — representing a 10,000 ton reduction in carbon emissions and 30 percent reduction in energy consumption.