The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced that the Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation was awarded $1.4 million to support two energy efficiency projects that are projected to cut electricity costs by roughly $680,000 annually.

The first project is for upgrades to the central cooling plant at the Medical Center, including chiller and cooling tower replacements. Total investment is approximately $6 million. NYSERDA is providing almost $1.2 million for the upgrades as well as cost-sharing for a feasibility study conducted by M/E Engineering P.C., which helped the Medical Center optimize its energy-efficiency investments. This project is estimated to save the Medical Center more than 5 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually, enough to power more than 720 average-sized homes for a year.

The second project includes measures to save energy at ECMC Corp.'s Terrace View Long-term Care Facility, a 300,000-square-foot, five-story building which opened this month. The facility is on the 65-acre ECMC Health Campus in Buffalo and includes patient rooms, eating and leisure areas, and professional and administrative areas. The NYSERDA incentive is $220,000. The measures incorporated into the new building will help reduce energy costs by more than $250,000 annually and decrease electricity consumption by more than 1.5 million kilowatt hours, enough to power more than 200 homes a year.

M/E Engineering provided feasibility studies, engineering design, and measurement and verification services for these projects.

Kenneth J. Swan, Manager of Commissioning and LEED Services at M/E Engineering, said, "NYSERDA's support for these projects allows ECMC Corporation to install equipment that is purchased initially at a premium cost compared to conventional equipment, but will generate significant operational and maintenance savings for years to come."

The central cooling plant upgrades provide a state-of-the-art chiller plant that not only serves the existing Medical Center, but also the new construction at the campus. The chilled water distribution system upgrades will optimize the operation of the plant, according to Swan, varying the flow of chilled water being pumped based on seasonal temperature, humidity conditions and internal building loads.

Key energy conservation measures incorporated into the Terrace View Long-term Care Facility include energy- efficient lighting systems, a variable air-volume kitchen exhaust system, high-efficiency valance heating and cooling systems, premium efficiency motors and variable frequency drives on circulating pumps and fans, and demand-controlled ventilation for densely occupied areas. NYSERDA also provided incentives for ENERGY STAR® rated refrigeration and kitchen equipment, including ranges, steamers and ovens.

M/E Engineering, P.C. is an approved provider for NYSERDA's FlexTech, Existing Facilities and New Construction Programs throughout New York State.

Additional information regarding this project or M/E Engineering, P.C. energy services offerings can be provided by contacting Ken Swan at (716) 845-5092 or kjswan@meengineering.com.