Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Feasibility Study:Columbia University Proposed Manhattanville Campus Expansion CHP Plant(ST8591-1)

Columbia University


Columbia University is proposing the development of a new campus in Manhattanville in West Harlem. The project involves the development of more than six million square feet of space in multiple phases by the year 2030, consisting of construction of approximately 20 new buildings and renovation of approximately three existing buildings. Approximately half of the development will occur in Phases I and II, with completion dates forecast for 2010 and 2020, respectively. It is expected that a large majority of the new space will be devoted to research and laboratory buildings, which will have high year-round energy requirements and a need for highly reliable utilities. Preliminary analysis conducted under an ongoing Master Plan indicates that for Phases I and II the campus will require 160,000 lbs/hr of heating, 12,000 tons of cooling, and 20 MW peak electric supply. This feasibility study seeks to evaluate whether such utilities should be provided by individual heating and cooling plants in each building, by a centrally located heating and cooling plant, or by a centrally located combined heat and power plant (CHP). This study will use the same team of architects, engineers and consultants that is currently developing the site Master Plan and central energy center Master Plan.

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Project Description

This feasibility study will forecast the heating, cooling, and electrical utility requirements for buildings within the development. A spreadsheet containing a mathematical model will be used to forecast the total loads of each building within the development by assigning profiles to various functional areas, e.g., laboratories, offices. The profiles will be presented on an hourly basis for each hour throughout a one-year period, and will account for building occupancy levels, hours of operation, and hourly local weather conditions. These profiles will be aggregated to forecast the coincident loads for each individual building, as well as the coincident loads for the entire campus. Additionally, modeling will be performed on an hour-by-hour basis for a year to simulate the additional electrical loads to be imparted by the pumps and fans that will convey such heating and cooling in response to these thermal loads. Next, modeling will simulate the hourly response of central and local building plants to these thermal demands. This step will compare the "individual building" option versus the "central plant" option. The central plant will be modeled as "heating and cooling only" and as "CHP". Emission and dispersion modeling will be performed to forecast exhaust treatment and air permitting requirements based on calculated impacts at most-affected receptors - either ground-level receptors or elevated receptors, e.g., high-rise apartment building windows.


There are many benefits to both the community and the University to using a CHP plant for this campus. Annual utility costs would be lower, space would be more effectively used, system reliability will be improved, and maintenance and operations would be simplified. In addition, CHP would produce significantly lower emissions than individual heating and cooling plants; emissions and the impact on the local community are a major concern for Columbia University and the neighborhood.

Project Results

Columbia University and team completed this study. It provided valuable direction for their future planning activities.


Columbia University
Sponsored Projects Finance P.O. Box 29789
New York, NY 10087

Principle Investigator


Universities Involved


Project Type:

Research Study

Technologies Types:

NYSERDA Contact Information

Dana Levy


R&D - Mfg Tech & On-Site Pwr

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST8591-1

Last Updated: 2/9/2011 9