SAN DIEGO — On Feb. 20, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded a total of five medical centers and universities with the Energy Star Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Award for their efforts to reduce emissions while increasing energy efficiency. The awards were presented at the International District Energy Association’s Annual Campus Energy Conference in San Diego.
CHP produces both electricity and useful heat from a sole energy source, natural gas, which makes it so that the award-winning hospitals and universities can operate in the event of a power outage.
The facilities that were awarded are:
• Medical Area Total Energy Plant, LP, Boston
• Montefiore Medical Center, New York
• New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York
• New York University, New York
• Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
The five winning CHP systems had operating efficiencies ranging from 69 to 75 percent, which is higher than the efficiency of separate production of electricity and thermal energy (sometimes achieving less than 50 percent). The increase in efficiency by the medical centers and universities helps reduce energy costs, as well as prevents carbon pollution equal to the emissions from the electricity used by more than 33,000 homes.
Using the CHP system allows the five facilities to operate independently from the grid during power supply disruptions such as weather-related events or other disasters. At universities, that means uninterrupted electricity, heat and cooling in dormitories and classrooms, as well as the protection of data centers and research activities that depend on air conditioning and electricity. For hospitals, CHP systems can guarantee continued patient care and safeguarded medical research facilities, diagnostic laboratories and pharmaceutical supplies.
EPA’s voluntary CHP Partnership program was established in 2001 with hopes of reducing the environmental impact of power generation by promoting the use of cost-effective CHP. By partnering with energy users, the CHP industry, state and local governments, and other clean energy stakeholders, the CHP Partnership has been able to prevent greenhouse gas emissions equal to the amount of electricity generated by more than 17 million homes in a year.