The university’s natural gas-fired cogen plant also decreases greenhouse gas emissions by 23 percent compared to NYU’s previous cogen plant, a 30-year-old oil-fired model.
Co-generation plants, also known as combined heat and power (CHP) , capture the heat produced during electricity generation for heating purposes.
NYU’s new system will produce not only heat and hot water, but also chilled water, supplying 37 buildings on the Washington Square campus. The illustration left shows how the plant works, and can be viewed in more detail on NYU’s website.
The new plant approaches 90 percent energy efficiency while producing 13.4 MW of electricity, twice the previous system’s output. It will provide electricity to 22 NYU buildings, up from seven buildings with the old plant. NYU says the system is expected to save between $5 million and $8 million per year.
“This cogen plant is unique in New York and certainly around the country because of its efficiency,” said John Bradley, assistant VP for sustainability, energy, and technical services. “NYU’s cogen will be well into the 90 percent range of efficiency, where a typical boiler plant is 50-60 percent efficient.”
The plant was installed as part of a $125 million renovation of the public plaza at 251 Mercer Street, which took 28 months to complete. NYU says it is one of the largest private CoGen plants in New York City.
CoGen is a key part of NYU’s Climate Action Plan for reducing its carbon footprint and enhancing sustainability.
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC Climate Challenge calls on all of the city’s colleges and universities to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2017.