On the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, the district energy system is making a major impact.

Cornell’s district energy system represents an 85% reduction in energy use for campus cooling. Steam, chilled water, and electricity supply 80 buildings totaling over 4.5 million square feet.

Economies of scale allow Cornell University to invest in efficient technologies that deliver approximately 20,000 tons of cooling capacity at peak demand, circulating about 33,000 gallons per minute. Using a renewable lake source cooling system has reduced Cornell’s reliance on fossil fuels and typically saves 25,000 MWh of electricity annually.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy Report to Congress Energy Efficiency and Energy Security Benefits of District Energy, July 2019, Washington, DC 20585  Photo Credit: Cornell University