Innovation Award Presented to New Jersey District Cooling System

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International District Energy Association recognizes Pepco Energy Services for impressive controls and efficiency innovation.

This project is proof that it is important to strive for your goals and push the limit of your comfort zone

The International District Energy Association (IDEA) awarded the second annual IDEA Innovation Award at its 105th Annual Conference and Trade Show in Seattle, WA to Pepco Energy Services for their district cooling system in Atlantic City, New Jersey. With over 600 people in attendance, former IDEA Chair Joe Brillhart of Johnson Controls was proud to present the 2014 IDEA Innovation Award to Mr. John Rauch, on behalf of Pepco Energy Services.

IDEA’s Innovation Award was established in 2013 with the goal of calling out and recognizing best practice improvements and technology innovations occurring among members of the association, ultimately to bring these emerging practices forward to help people learn from each other and capture savings and efficiency more quickly. Unlike other annual awards presented by the association, this award provides recognition of smaller scale applications and technologies and serves to demonstrate industry collaboration among technology providers, consultants and end user systems.

This year, the winning submission came from Pepco Energy Services for their district cooling system in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Their innovation centers on a simulation and model driven control platform for their district energy plant. According to the peer review committee, the Pepco submission achieved high ratings in all award criteria – innovation and uniqueness, operational and sustainable, replicable, and economic and environmental advantage.

At the heart of the software innovation is an algorithm that computes all calculations necessary to result in the lowest instantaneous cost of production to run the district cooling plant. The goal is to optimize the whole operating system, not just singular pieces of equipment within the system. Most impressively, this is all able to occur without operator interaction, with the system automatically commanding the equipment and adjusting on a fifteen minute cycle. This allows operators to be more available to do maintenance, provide customer service and system analysis, without missing critical control changes. Since going live in October of 2013, the operational benefits include nearly 30% reduction in the amount of electricity used compared to the base line year of 2011, with savings of over $500,000 per year.

Upon acceptance of the award, Rauch thanked IDEA and the Innovation Award Committee on behalf of the Atlantic City Thermal Operations Team and their contractor partners. He stated that this project “is proof that it is important to strive for your goals and push the limit of your comfort zone” and emphasized that “the success of the project was highly dependent upon the team’s commitment to excellence in operations.”

The International District Energy Association (IDEA) is a nonprofit 501(c) 6 industry trade association founded in 1909 and governed by a 22-member Board of Directors. IDEA represents approximately 1800 members who are district heating and cooling executives, managers, engineers, consultants and equipment suppliers from 26 countries. Association members operate district energy systems owned by utilities, municipalities, hospitals, military bases and airports throughout North America and around the world. Visit for more information.

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Robert Thornton
International District Energy Association
since: 10/2011
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