Energy conservation does more than reduce the College's financial exposure. It reduces environmental and social costs as well. Energy conservation mitigates the numerous adverse environmental and social impacts associated with energy production and consumption. These include air pollution, acid rain and global warming, oil spills and water pollution, loss of wilderness areas, construction of new power plants, foreign energy dependence and the risk of international conflict over energy supplies.
In 1998 the College developed a central chilled water plant to address the majority of the campus’ cooling needs. Where possible, buildings are designed to connect into central utility systems to take advantage of the load diversity. The central systems are almost always more efficient than individual distributed systems (which was the College’s design strategy before 1998).
Since 2003, the College has invested approximately $200,000 per year in energy conservation projects, and these projects have had a net simple payback of approximately 2.3 years.Examples of some of these projects are described below.
Project Description Amherst College's cogeneration system will consist of a 1250-kW gas turbine generator that burns natural gas or diesel fuel. The turbine, similar in design to a small aircraft engine, will turn an electrical generator connected to the campus electrical system and send its hot exhaust to a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG).
Cogeneration Defined Cogeneration is the simultaneous production of electricity and heat, both of which are used for beneficial purposes. A cogeneration plant is a single source for electricity and thermal energy, located close to the point of use.