The Prudential Center for Learning and Innovation

Customer Quote

"With electric equipment, energy costs for our facility were $650,000 annually. Since switching to natural gas cogeneration units to generate electricity and hot water, operating costs have dropped to $300,000."
-MICHAEL PERRETTE, PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA

The Prudential Center for Learning and Innovation

NORWALK, CONNECTICUT

The Prudential Center for Learning and Innovation is a hotel and conference center that serves as a training and meeting site for The Prudential Insurance Company of America. With 28 meeting rooms and 117 guest rooms, the Center’s constant demand for hot water made it a perfect candidate for cogeneration. Cogeneration is most cost-effective in settings with a consistent demand for electricity and a high demand for hot water, since the by-product of electric generation is thermal energy. At the Prudential Center, the natural gas-fired cogeneration units provide 40 to 45 percent of the facility’s electric power. The waste heat from the engines is recaptured, run through heat exchangers, then used to supplement the building’s heat and hot water, plus heat an indoor pool.

Project Objective

Reduce operating costs at the 219,000 square foot conference center.

Benefits

Lower operating costs

A cogeneration system uses a single fuel source, natural gas, to generate two forms of energy – electricity and thermal energy in the form of hot water or steam. With economical natural gas as the fuel source, companies can generate electricity at far lower costs than purchased electricity.

Savings on hot water

With cogeneration, your hot water costs are dramatically lower, and in some situations, may even be free. By recycling the excess or waste heat from the natural gas-fired engines and using it to supplement boiler hot water, the result is significant savings in energy costs as well as reducing the load on the boilers. This thermal energy can also be recaptured for process use.

Cleaner air

Cogeneration with natural gas is a clean, energy efficient process. The electricity generated by The Prudential Center produces fewer emissions than electricity generated by burning coal or oil, contributing to cleaner air in the densely populated Fairfield County  area.

Reliability

The Prudential Center installed three separate 75-kilowatt cogeneration units instead of one larger unit to ensure maximum reliability and redundancy. During the first year of operation, the cogeneration units were on-line except for minimal “down-time” due to maintenance and repairs.

Equipment Specifications

Three 75-kilowatt cogeneration units for a total of 225 kilowatts. Three 1.7 million Btu natural gas-fired Patterson-Kelly boilers with a total capacity of 5.1 million Btus. Installation date: Cogeneration units installed in June 1998; boilers installed in January 1999.

Operational Savings

Annual operating costs were reduced by $350,000.

Total project installation cost: $1 million, including the conversion to natural gas-fired boilers. The payback period on the project is expected to be about three years.

Contacts

Installition contractor for cogeneration:
Lee Vardakas, Aegis Energy Services, LLC
55 Jackson street
Holyoke, Massachusetts 01040
(413) 536-1156.