EPA Recognizes Medical Centers and Universities for Emissions Reductions and Energy Savings

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Five awards presented at International District Energy Association (IDEA) Campus Energy Conference in San Diego

This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized five facilities with the Energy Star Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Award for their efforts to reduce emissions that threaten public health while increasing energy reliability and efficiency. The awards were presented at the 26th Annual International District Energy Association (IDEA) Campus Energy Conference in San Diego, California.

“Our Energy Star CHP award winners are better serving their students and patients while safeguarding the environment,” said Gina McCarthy, Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. “These institutions are protecting their critical operations from power outages and our climate from harmful carbon pollution with more reliable and more efficient CHP systems.”

“In addition to exceptional energy efficiency and savings and enhanced environmental performance, the CHP facilities at these institutions also provide a higher level of resiliency and reliability in the event of grid interruption from extreme weather," said Rob Thornton, President & CEO of IDEA. Many of our campus and institutional systems provide mission critical energy services that demand high levels of reliability to support medical clinics, surgeries, laboratories, data centers and at times, irreplaceable research. These institutions cannot afford to be without power and heat so having a robust district energy/CHP system on campus is a very valuable resource and a prudent investment."

CHP, also known as cogeneration, simultaneously produces electricity and useful heat from a single energy source (e.g. natural gas). CHP ensures the award-winning hospitals and universities can continue to operate in the event of a power outage.

Award winners include:

  •     Medical Area Total Energy Plant, LP, Boston, Mass.
  •     Montefiore Medical Center, New York, N.Y.
  •     New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, N.Y.
  •     New York University, New York, N.Y.
  •     Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

The five winning CHP systems achieved operating efficiencies ranging from 69 to 75 percent, much higher than the efficiency of separate production of electricity and thermal energy, which can be less than 50 percent. The medical centers’ and universities’ increase in operating efficiency not only reduces their energy costs but prevents carbon pollution equal to the emissions from the electricity used by more than 33,000 homes. New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and New York University have each reported annual savings of approximately $5 million while Texas A&M University reported savings of nearly $150 million in the last 10 years.

Today’s awards reflect the ongoing commitment President Obama highlighted in his State of the Union address to partner with businesses and communities to encourage investments in clean energy and infrastructure. These partnerships will help grow the U.S. economy.

By using CHP, the winners are able to operate independently from the grid during power supply disruptions, such as those from weather-related events. CHP’s benefits for universities include uninterrupted electricity, heat, and cooling for dormitories and classrooms, and protection of data centers and research activities that are vulnerable to losses of air conditioning and electricity. With CHP systems, hospitals ensure that patient care can continue uninterrupted, and that vital assets such as medical research facilities, diagnostic laboratories, and pharmaceutical supplies are safeguarded.

Established in 2001, EPA's voluntary CHP Partnership program seeks to reduce the environmental impact of power generation by promoting the use of cost-effective CHP. The partnership works closely with energy users, the CHP industry, state and local governments, and other clean energy stakeholders to facilitate the development of new CHP projects and to promote their environmental and economic benefits. Since the program's inception, the CHP Partnership has prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to that from the generation of the electricity used by more than 17 million homes in a year.

More on the Combined Heat and Power Partnership: http://epa.gov/chp/

More on the awards: http://epa.gov/chp/partnership/current_winners.html

About IDEA: The International District Energy Association (IDEA) is an independent, non-profit industry association formed in 1909 with headquarters in Westborough, Massachusetts which represents the interests of over 1,600 members from 25 countries involved in operation, design, construction and optimization of district heating, district cooling and CHP (cogeneration) systems, with a majority of members in North America, as well as Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific.

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