Yale’s Sterling Power Plant Wins AIA Connecticut Honor Award

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Designed by Charney Architects with Vanderweil Engineers, Cogeneration Plant Powers Yale School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Hospital

The new 15 MWe cogeneration expansion at Yale University’s Sterling Power Plant in New Haven, Conn., was recognized with the 2012 Honor Award for design excellence and sustainability from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Connecticut chapter. Designed by Charney Architects with Vanderweil Power Group, a division of Boston-based Vanderweil Engineers, the plant provides steam, chilled water, and electricity to Yale School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Hospital.

The conversion of the Sterling Power Plant to a cogeneration facility enables the university to produce electrical and thermal energy simultaneously, improving efficiency and saving up to 18,000 metric tons of carbon equivalents a year, according to the Yale Office of Sustainability. The project involved draining and converting an existing three-million-gallon thermal storage tank into a new 15 MW plant, which also features 5 MWe of future expansion capacity.

Highlights of the design include:

  • Two 7.5 MWe combustion turbine generators
  • Two HRSG’s each with 95,000 PPH steam capacity
  • Two 185-foot stainless steel exhaust stacks
  • Combustion air inlet air cooling during summer
  • Chilled water free cooling in the winter
  • New 5,500-ton chiller expansion including field-erected cooling tower and commissioning
  • New DCS plant SCADA system

Vanderweil Power Group’s services for the new plant included an energy study, mechanical, electrical, instrumentation & controls design services, and utility grid interconnection engineering. The jury noted the design team’s accomplishment in showing how to “make a work of architecture out of a mundane, infrastructural space…the jury liked the massing, the detailing, the bringing together of materials and shapes, and the celebration of the stack.”

Vanderweil Engineers

R.G. Vanderweil Engineers, LLP, specializes in mechanical, electrical, plumbing/ fire protection, and technology services engineering and construction/ commissioning support for buildings, central heating and chiller plants, power generation, and transmission and distribution projects. Based in Boston, the 370-employee firm also has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Princeton, Syracuse, and Washington, D.C. Vanderweil Engineers has earned numerous awards for its breakthrough design and consulting services, including the development of advanced strategies for sustainable and energy-efficient systems. The firm was founded in 1950, and is consistently ranked among the top U.S. building services engineering firms.

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Sandra Ammar
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