NEW YORK — As a result of efforts to become more energy efficient, Rockefeller University (RU), located in New York City, was recently honored with a local award from the Association of Energy Engineers for its multi-year initiative to reduce energy usage and carbon emissions.
This institutional energy management-of-the-year award was granted to recognize the school’s consistent achievements in developing, organizing, managing and implementing its comprehensive energy management program.
An American private university, RU offers postgraduate and postdoctoral education. In 2007, the school accepted the NYC Carbon Challenge and in less than five years the university cut emissions by 30.6 percent from 2005 levels. The university’s plant operations office closely monitors its energy demand as part of the university’s effort to identify opportunities to increase efficiency.
Other steps the university has taken toward optimal energy efficiency include the installation of variable speed pumps and improvements to its boilers and chillers. Together, these additions allow the university’s HVAC system to operate and burn fuel more efficiently and cleanly.
In order to establish more efficient chilled water units, RU has also chosen to replace window air-conditioning units in various buildings. Furthermore, the university has developed in-house engineering solutions, designed to, for example, make use of existing infrastructure to cool sensitive laboratory equipment rather than dedicated chillers.
Another step toward increasing efficiency, RU has taken part in the “Shut the Sash” campaign, implemented by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety with the support of the Sustainability Committee. This campaign aims at raising awareness in laboratories in regards to the importance of shutting the sash when a chemical fume hood is not in use.
In addition, RU has also implemented the installation of motion sensors to control lighting fixtures and LED lighting upgrades.
Ultimately, in order to maintain such a high level of energy efficiency, the university upholds a personal commitment to building all future buildings to LEED Silver standards, as well as continuing to track the university’s energy demand and consumption metrics on a monthly basis.
“Rockefeller’s dedication to excellence extends beyond its science, to the operation of it physical plant,” said Alex Kogan, associate vice president for plant operations, in a statement. “We pride ourselves on adopting the industry’s best practices to reduce our energy usage and get the most value from every watt of energy we use. We are pleased to see our efforts recognized by the Association of Energy Engineers.”
This award at the local level means RU will now be entered to compete at the regional level, and potentially at the national level as well.