Heating and Cooling Standards

Central Mechanical Systems

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).

Mechanical Systems

Central Utilities Site Plan

Mechanical and lighting systems consume the majority of energy used by buildings. Dependence on fossil fuels cannot be reduced without optimizing heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC), hot water, process utilities, controls and energy management systems.


Energy Conservation Projects

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.

Amherst College Cogeneration Plant

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 Plant

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.