Greetings everyone! By the time you read this, Hurricane Sandy may be a distant memory to most of you. However, many of the plant rooms in New York City will still be cleaning up the mess and trying to get equipment operable for the upcoming cooling season. Coastal areas in nearby Long Island and New Jersey will also still be working through recovery and refurbishment. I know that many of my old friends in Manhattan were affected. On a more positive note, I also heard of some sites with CHP that continued to provide power to their facilities throughout the storm when all the surrounding areas were black. My heart goes out to all of those affected by this monstrous storm.
Hopefully, all of you have already registered and made your travel plans for IDEA's 26th Annual Campus Energy Conference & Distribution Workshop, Feb. 18-22, 2013 in beautiful San Diego. If not, there is still plenty of time to do so. I really love the learning and networking atmosphere of the Campus Conferences and look forward to meeting all my friends and colleagues who will be there this year. I'm also pretty sure that I will be happy to get on that plane in Baltimore and head to a warm, sunny location in early February.
Since it's the time of the year when we get to share things with each other, I'd like to share an example of energy-efficient design that I recently heard about. This project certainly fits the example of "Building on Efficiency, Delivering Value" which, as you may recall, is our annual theme.
A very well-known hospital in the southeastern part of the United States needed to build a new 630,000 sq ft tower wing. They considered putting the utility plant in the basement of the new building, much like the existing facility. But fortunately, after looking at the alternatives, they decided to spend the additional money to build a separate central plant. They felt that a freestanding central utility plant would ensure flexibility by fulfilling future energy needs for any changing or additional buildings on the campus. This decision, along with the events that followed, allowed this project to embody our goal of "Building on Efficiency, Delivering Value."
There are many cool things about this project-too many for the amount of space I have in this column. But the coolest thing-and the reason it gets my "Building on Efficiency" star-is the method they used to reduce the energy demand of the building. There was a need to heat water for the hospital. There was also a need to chill water for the hospital. This would seem like a perfect application for a water-to-water heat pump, but the hospital didn't always have sufficient chilling requirements to balance the heating and cooling needs. However, there was a nearby district cooling loop that could be tapped that had more than enough chilling capacity year-round. By tapping into this loop, they were able to sell off-peak chilled water to the other utility as well as ensure a constant heat source for the water-to-water-heat pump to always be able to serve the hospital's heating needs. Re-purposing energy in this manner using a water-to-water heat pump resulted in a 31 percent reduction in overall energy usage versus conventional means. Having their central plant interconnected to the other utility provided redundancy for both parties as well as the normal efficiency and reliability that we have come to expect from a district energy plant.
So you see, reducing energy demand doesn't always have to be as mundane as installing thicker insulation or double-glazed windows. Finding ways to convert waste energy into usable energy within the building makes just as much sense. Re-use it, don't lose it!
This is a great time to remind you we need your entries for the IDEA Annual Innovation Awards. Ideas like the hospital project I just mentioned are the type we are looking forward to sharing with our members. We'd love to put your name on a plaque, so get your ideas on paper and throw your hat in the ring!
Last, but not least, I want to remind you all to mark your calendars for our 104th Annual Conference and Trade Show. It will be held June 2-5, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency in Miami, Fla. Bring the family and have a great summer vacation at the same time. See you there!
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