Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

New York District Energy Vertical Market Development(ST9933-1)

GI Endurant, LLC


District energy (DE), represents one of the most efficient and cost effective forms of Distributed Generation/Combined Heat and Power (DG/CHP), yet these systems are underused in New York State. For example, a 2002 NYSERDA study identified over 400 college/universities, representing 500 MW of peak load,that did not use district energy systems. In addition to college campuses, district energy systems are appropriate for many situations, including airports, large medical complexes, research campuses, commercial parks, and other major developments. Many barriers that inhibit implementation of district energy systems still remain, including a lack of resources needed to evaluate district energy as an option.

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Project Description

The project team will develop standard feasibility assessment and development methods, and a district energy modeling and economic assessment tool. CUNY campus data will serve as input for developing and testing the tool. The tool will be applied to at least one of the 19 CUNY campus locations to showcase a case study. Once completed, the project team will hold two one- day workshops to disseminate the features and findings of the tool, and educate potential NY State users.


CUNY will gain information about the feasibility of district energy on its campuses. Other potential district energy sites will gain access to assessment tools. Visibility of possible district energy systems for college campuses, military facilities, and research centers will be possible, and the results disseminated could spur future endeavors. The DE screening tool and application guide includes six (6) criteria for evaluating a DE system. The six (6) criteria can be used by facility owners to assess the feasibility of DE, and determine if a conceptual design study is worth pursuing. A summary of the criteria is: high enough electricity costs, constant combined heating/cooling loads, sufficient available space to route hot and or chilled water piping, space to house a DE facility; a common electric bus available with sufficient capacity to utilize electrically generated output, permitting, and sufficient supply of natural gas flow available. Direct benefits from an installed DE plant are: energy independence from other providers, promotion of energy conservation, and reduced carbon footprint of facility.

Project Results

The Contractor assessed 24 City University New York (CUNY) campuses, of which seven sites had both cooling and heating distribution loops. Of the seven, three (3) sites were chosen and much more detailed review of DE applicability was performed. During the course of discussions with CUNY personnel, , two (2) DE workshops were held in NYC area to communicate the benefits of DE, and an electronic screening tool was developed to assess the feasibility and footprint required to entertain a DE site at your facility. A detailed case study was conducted for the Brooklyn Campus of CUNY, to apply the DE development model and tools. Several factors account for making or breaking a DE model for a campus, like facility. If the customer has cheap electric rates ($.07 - $.14 /kwh estimated payback is 19 yrs, as opposed to $0.22/kwh rates that yield a more favorable eight yr estimated payback. The CUNY campuses currently enjoy NYPA provided electricity that averages $0.10 /kwh . In addition to this, a campus may be set up with central heat plant, but when the electrical distribution is provided by the utility, multiple feeders at various voltage levels enter buildings individually, which requires a changeover to common electrical feeds throughout the campus buildings, adding a large cost to the DE project.


GI Endurant, LLC
134 N LaSalle St., Ste 510
Chicago, IL 60602

Principle Investigator

John Kelly

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Software Application/Analysis Tool

Technologies Types:

Energy Power Supply
District Energy

NYSERDA Contact Information

Gregory Pedrick


R&D -Transport & Power Systems

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST9933-1

Last Updated: 7/14/2011