The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has awarded the University of Rochester a rebate incentive of $36,615 for the renovation of an undergraduate laboratory in Hutchison Hall. The grant was awarded for adhering to energy efficient guidelines for equipment purchased for the new laboratory.
NYSERDA works closely with utility companies who prefer when large institutions consume less energy thereby avoiding taxing the system and causing problems in the grid. NYSERDA provides energy recommendations and corresponding grants to encourage establishments like the University to conserve energy. The grants intend to provide a financial incentive for the owner to install more costly energy efficient equipment which consumes less energy during its life cycle.
After a request from the Chemistry Department, the undergraduate teaching laboratory was constructed in June 2011 and completed in time for the 2011-12 academic year. The new, state of the art teaching laboratory combined what were once three separate labs and is primarily used for undergraduate courses. The major reduction in utility use came from thirteen fume hoods which are ductless and large enough for two students to work. One can be raised or lowered for accessibility. They are efficient enough that they save the University hundreds to thousands of dollars each year because they do not need exhaust fans that run on electricity. Overall, the lighting and fume hoods are projected to save the University $13,000 in annual operating costs.
While the efficiency gains of a ductless fume hood are commendable, there are downsides. These fume hoods should not be used for experiments involving noxious or corrosive chemicals. Therefore the hoods are a good fit for an undergraduate teaching laboratory, but could not be used for all campus laboratories.
Campus Planning, Design and Construction Management (CPDCM ) apply for dollar rebate incentives for most construction projects conducted at the University. Most energy conservation measures (ECM’s) receive incentive dollars, as well as the recognition for environmental effort. CPDCM partners with the River Campus Facilities NYSERDA liaison, Joe Viterna, in researching and applying for rebate incentives. This partnership results in approved awareness of energy efficient equipment and this knowledge is then applied when choosing equipment for projects. Past NYSERDA rebates were awarded for an addition onto the Kodak Theater, a new chiller at the Eastman School of Music, new Data Center renovation, and the Saunders Clinical and Translational Science Building. Other new construction projects like the Raymond F. LeChase Hall (Warner School building) and O’Brien Hall have rebate incentive applications pending.
You can check out the laboratory in Hutchison 102 (but please be careful not to interrupt a class).
By Alanna Scheinerman, Class of 2013