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Messiah College to convert its Mechanicsburg campus to natural gas

March 10th, 2015

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (March 10, 2015)—For two years, Messiah College has been partnering with UGI to explore ways to save energy costs, reduce its carbon footprint and make its campus more energy efficient. As a result of this planning, the College will begin installation of a natural gas infrastructure to its Mechanicsburg, Pa. campus this summer, with a planned completion date of spring 2016.

About the project
The College will construct a Combined Cooling, Heat and Power (CCHP) system on its campus, which will provide year-round electric power, heat and cooling from a single fuel source—natural gas. Currently, the College heats the majority of its buildings and provides domestic hot water using propane, a fuel source that has experienced some temporary shortages during the record-cold winters of the past two years. The College also uses electric heating/cooling systems in several of its buildings, which is less cost effective than natural gas.

While most power plants in the U.S. create steam as a byproduct that is then expelled as wasted heat, Messiah’s CCHP system will capture the energy that would normally be lost in power generation and use it to provide heating and cooling to key buildings on campus. Another advantage of the CCHP is that, in the event of an extended power outage, it will continue to generate electricity to Eisenhower Campus Center, the campus’ hub of student services, which will allow the College to provide basic services and a safe haven for its students.

“Messiah College is excited to enter this partnership with UGI and UGI Performance Solutions. Bringing natural gas to our campus has been a part of our long-term strategic utility planning. This project will not only reduce our dependence on other fuel sources, but will reduce our carbon footprint, helping the College meet its commitments to sustainability initiatives, green practices and environmental stewardship,” said Kathie Shafer, vice president of operations for Messiah College.

Sustainability and cost efficiencies
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), CCHP systems operate at efficiency levels as high as 80 percent, compared to about 35 to 50 percent for traditional heating and electric generation. Because natural gas uses cleaner-burning fuels and because the system’s exhaust waste heat is recaptured, a CCHP system is environmentally friendly and highly efficient. Messiah’s conversion to natural gas and use of CCHP will provide annual emission reductions equivalent to 1,354 passenger vehicles taken off the road; consumption of over 723,000 gallons of gasoline avoided; and the import of nearly 15,000 barrels of oil avoided.

The total cost of the project is planned to not exceed $7.5 million, with immediate, significant annual savings in utilities costs to the College estimated conservatively at $800,000 per year. “The pay back and long-term savings this project provides will have an extended impact on our ability to manage the growing cost of higher education,” Shafer added.

Project partners
“We’re very pleased to be a part of this project for two reasons,” said Bob Stoyko, vice president of marketing and customer relations for UGI Utilities. “The 10,000 feet of pipe we’re installing to connect Messiah to our natural gas distribution system will help the College achieve a more efficient and cost-effective, state-of-the-art system. At the same time, the project enables us to make improvements to the West Shore distribution system that will increase capacity in the surrounding community,” he added.

“We are excited about working with Messiah College to deliver energy efficient and environmentally friendly Combined Cooling Heat and Power technology to the campus,” said UGI Performance Solutions HVAC Enterprises vice president Bob Pistor.

Also partnering with Messiah College on the project are Gannett-Fleming, Inc., Spillman Farmer Architects and Wohlsen Construction.

About UGI
Backed by the UGI Corporation, UGI Performance Solutions offers on-site power generation solutions using Combined Heat and Power technology. Their team of professionals finds innovative solutions and technologies that deliver improved performance, a healthier environment, and a significant impact to their customers’ bottom line. UGI Utilities is headquartered in Reading, Pennsylvania, and serves 670,000 customers in 45 Pennsylvania counties and one county in Maryland.

About Messiah College
Messiah College, a private Christian college of the liberal and applied arts and sciences, enrolls more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Established in 1909, the primary campus is located in Mechanicsburg, Pa., near the state capital of Harrisburg.


One Response to “Messiah College to convert its Mechanicsburg campus to natural gas”

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