First Eco-Friendly Hospital Energy Plant Installed

November 5, 2009 Updated: November 5, 2009

NEW YORK—Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital has switched its power source to become Manhattan’s first eco-friendly hospital energy plant.

The plant promises to reduce the emission of 20,000 tons of pollutants annually, the equivalent of removing 3,600 automobiles from the road, while adding millions of dollars in annual savings.

With the addition of the power from the new plant, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center will generate between 60 percent and 100 percent of its own electricity, therefore consuming less other forms of energy such as nuclear and coal-fired power plants.

“Co-generation is a win for patients, a win for the environment, and a win for our hospital's bottom line,” said Dr. Steven J. Corwin, executive vice president and chief operating officer of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, in a news release.

“Cleaner air means healthier communities, and the dollars saved by using this technology can be redirected to patient care. By showing that co-generation is possible even given the challenges of a complex, urban environment, we hope to provide a model for other hospitals across the country to do the same.”

The 7.5-megawatt power plant burns natural gas in a turbine to generate electricity continuously for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Heat from the turbine, which is usually wasted as exhaust gas, is captured and reused to generate steam for heating and cooling.

"This plant will also provide a completely redundant source of power for inpatient areas. In the event of a widespread power outage, like the Northeast blackout of 2003, its critical backup power will sustain our critical functions and safeguard patients," said Fritz Reuter, senior vice president of facilities development and real estate at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

The hospital anticipates installing a second, larger co-generation plant in the coming year with a $1.1 million grant from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) that aids the cost of equipment.