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Adelphi U Budget-Neutral Cogen Plant To Reduce Annual Energy Bill by $1.6 Million

Adelphi University in New York is continuing work on a major facilities project that will eventually save the private institution $1.6 million annually on energy. The university already has an onsite solar installation; the new work includes the installation of a 1.99-megawatt heat and power plant, as well as replacement of legacy boilers and an upgrade of a ventilation system in the science building.

What's interesting about the cogeneration project is its "budget neutral" approach. As university Treasurer Tim Burton explained in a video, the facilities division came to him with a proposal for a solution for which the vendor would front all of the money. In return, the university would have to turn over 15 years of energy savings to the company. "Our facilities people saw that as a no-cost solution," said Burton. "I took position that I could probably add value to this proposition by separating those two."

Eventually, the university signed agreements with Ecosystem Energy Services to provide the technical work and First American Education Finance to handle capitalization. The funding solution included a one-year interest-only period for the construction phase. Eventually, repayment will be aligned with the guaranteed annual energy savings being provided by Ecosystem. Under the arrangement, the institution is spending $13.5 million to implement the new cogeneration system. The energy savings will be equal to or greater than the school's debt service on the project over a loan period of 12.5 years.

The school expects to generate two megawatts of electricity and reduce its carbon emissions by 4,600 metric tons each year.

As Michael Hoke, vice president of First American, noted in the same video, "They will dramatically cut their energy costs, have a reduced carbon footprint and, more importantly, they'll have in place new and modern energy infrastructure that will serve the school for years to come."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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