Steam engines started wearing out their welcome by the early 20th century, because of their noxious fumes and safety hazards. But when New York City politicians tried banning them, the railroad’s board of directors saw an opportunity for promotion and profit. They decided to finance Grand Central Terminal - one of the first buildings in the world that was all electric.
More than 100 years later, Grand Central Terminal is still famous for its electricity use, but for different reasons. Today the Terminal is a world leader in energy reduction, and recently completed a four-year energy renovation project estimated to save taxpayers $2.5 million annually, the equivalent of more than ten cents for each of the Station’s 22 million annual visitors.
How to reduce carbon emissions by 10,000 tons annually
The program started when the New York Power Authority (NYPA) contracted SourceOne, a Veolia company, to manage the design, implementation and commissioning for $25 million in infrastructure improvements. The $25 million project originated in a partnership between the MTA and the NYPA and was part of Governor Cuomo’s plan to protect the environment while strengthening the economy.
SourceOne was established to provide large entities with energy support and guidance. It responded with a multi-part plan:
- Quantify energy use with an initial energy audit;
- Identify relevant energy conservation measures,
- Manage extensive utility system upgrades to produce energy savings.
The upgrades included replacement of the Terminal’s antiquated cooling system, the installation of new cooling towers on the Terminal’s roof, and four new centrifugal chillers that can control air flow based on temperature fluctuations.
These annual savings make Grand Central Terminal the largest energy efficiency project ever completed by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the NYPA. The project is expected to reduce the city’s yearly carbon emissions by more than 10,000 tons.
Whether a building is 100 years old or twenty, energy-saving technology continues to improve and cost-conscious owners take advantage of it by optimizing their efficiency. For more information about the energy savings available to large buildings, see the SourceOne blog.