The 60-year-old centralized heating plant at the State University of New York at Cortland was outdated and extremely inefficient. The old centralized steam system allowed a tremendous amount of heat to go to waste as the steam traveled from the plant to dozens of buildings across its sprawling 191-acre campus. Heating costs were at an all-time high accounting for more than 40 percent of the college’s energy budget.
To update their heating plant and reduce their energy bills, the college decided to decentralize their old system and install AERCO Benchmark boilers in each building across campus. The $12 million dollar, two-year project replaced the old central steam heating plant and its three-pipe network with 42 individual Benchmark boilers which were installed in 21 separate buildings. This allowed the heat produced by each boiler to efficiently remain in each structure. The new satellite Benchmark boilers also reduced the amount of natural gas used as well as expensive maintenance costs that had previously been needed to repair steam leaks in the old pipe system.
With the new Benchmark boilers in place and their heating plant decentralized, the college was able to reduce the workload of their 17-member heating maintenance staff from a 24-hour, 364-day-per-year schedule, to a more manageable 17-hour workday, 7 am to midnight (as they are still need to service more than 3,000 pieces of equipment on campus). As a result of incorporating AERCO Benchmark boilers, SUNY Cortland expects to save nearly $600,000 in energy costs per year.