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By Greta Petry (March 19, 2007)

UAlbany Increases Energy Efficiency of Original Boiler

The University at Albany is increasing the efficient delivery of heat and hot water to classrooms, offices, and residence halls, thanks to a project just completed with the New York Power Authority (NYPA).

"The University is committed to thinking and acting 'green,' " said University at Albany Provost and Officer in Charge Susan Herbst. "Through our ongoing partnership with NYPA, we are able to defray energy consumption and costs, reduce our impact on the environment, and direct our resources to enhancing the learning experience."

The $1.4 million project centered on installing new tubing to replace old, leaking, and corroded tubing in the remaining original oil and natural gas-fired hot water boiler in the Uptown Campus Power Plant. NYPA-managed contractors, working with campus utility staff, installed six miles of new tubing and several additional measures to improve and extend the life of the 100-million BTU (British thermal unit) capacity boiler.

The new features heighten the unit's overall energy efficiency, lower fuel consumption, and eliminate frequent repairs. These steps are expected to yield annual savings to the University of more than $105,000.

Contractors also installed new controls to provide precise and efficient combustion. The new controls also include electronic variable speed drives on the supply air and exhaust fans to minimize the amount of power used. The tubing replacement project will pay for itself in approximately 13 years.

Power Authority President and Chief Executive Officer Timothy S. Carey said, "In 2006, the Power Authority completed energy-savings projects at 101 State University facilities at campuses as far south as Suffolk County and as far west as the Niagara frontier. Rewarding as it is to know NYPA has worked with state-owned college campuses to reduce oil consumption by more than 216,000 barrels, it is especially gratifying to know my alma mater, UAlbany, has contributed to this and the energy independence these projects foster."

UAlbany has enjoyed a long-term relationship with NYPA dating back to the inception of NYPA's High Efficiency Lighting Program (H.E.L.P.) in 1992, which installed energy–efficient lighting across the campus. In 2005, UAlbany worked with NYPA and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to install a new $3.5 million natural gas–fueled absorption chiller, which serves as the primary cooling system for air-conditioning most of the Uptown Campus buildings. "We are faced with many challenges as a result of our aging facilities, our limited campus resources, our desire to be more sustainable, and the need to keep our educational opportunities affordable and accessible," said Associate Vice President for University Facilities Operations John Giarrusso. "The completion of these types of projects through our partnership with NYPA allows us to meet these challenges."


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