The Pomfret School is proving the opposite of the old adage—and demonstrating that those that can do, teach. The college preparatory board and day school in northeastern Connecticut not only grasps the importance of cutting back on greenhouse gases and saving the environment; it is doing something about it. Its current energy retrofit project will reduce the school’s carbon footprint by more than 40 percent—or 2.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually.
In May 2012, Pomfret School embarked on its nine-month sustainability project. Removal of the on-site oil-burning boilers signaled the start of the $8 million initiative, which will convert the campus from fuel oil-based power generation to natural gas, and is slated for completion by February 2013.
Pomfret’s plan was facilitated by its proximity to the Spectra Energy Algonquin Gas Transmission pipeline and the Yankee Gas Services wellhead. Not only is natural gas a cleaner fuel; it also is far less expensive than oil. In addition, the old steam distribution system will be replaced with a markedly more efficient hot water distribution network—which boasts a heat-loss rating that is a fraction of the rating of the existing steam network.
This energy conversion is expected to:
- Save two-thirds of current heating costs
- Reduce total heat energy input by as much as 50 percent
- Incorporate combined heat and power (CHP), through cogeneration equipment, which will enable Pomfret to leverage its low-cost natural gas to generate electricity. This cycle is expected to produce in excess of 50 percent of the campus electric load.
This move will transform the entire campus —and represents a 50-year commitment to reducing the School’s energy costs, consumption and carbon footprint.
In addition to this project, Pomfret is seizing the opportunity to educate its students by offering two elective courses, “Sustainable Campus Energy and Environmental Engineering” and “Environmental Science.”
Pomfret School’s commitment to sustainability has been enhanced by its retention of the New York City-based Fulcrum (News - Alert) Group, a capital construction, commissioning, and energy management company. Fulcrum is well known for such prestigious projects as Manhattan’s newest skyscraper, the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, which is among the most environmentally efficient high-rise commercial office building in the world.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman