Meeting enormous energy challenges comes with the territory for Recycled Energy Development (or RED) Rochester, the utility that owns and operates the trigeneration heating, cooling, and power utility infrastructure for Eastman Business Park. Located in Rochester, New York, Eastman Business Park is a massive innovation hub that evolved from Eastman Kodak’s film manufacturing campus. Today, the campus houses over 100 enterprises in 16 million square feet, an area equivalent to 277 football fields. Tenants consume massive amounts of electricity and multiple utility services, including chilled water for comfort and process cooling.

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At Eastman Business Park’s south campus, RED Rochester employed several steam turbine-driven centrifugal chillers to provide 43°F chilled water. When it came time to replace the backup steam-turbine chiller, RED Rochester decided to use an electric chiller made by Smardt. Estimates showed the efficiency of a Smardt centrifugal chiller with Danfoss Turbocor® magnetic-bearing compressors could cut $650,000 annually off the gas bill and reduce CO2 emissions by over 23,300 metric tons, a huge economic and environmental benefit.

RED Rochester, owned by Ironclad Energy Partners, operates its 120-megawatt utility service as a “microgrid” — a system of interconnected loads and distributed resources grouped “inside the fence” of Eastman Business Park. As a result, it can import or export power and increase or decrease steam and electric production to run as reliably and cost-competitively as possible.

The decision to go with one large magnetic-bearing chiller gave a return on investment in under two years and allows RED Rochester to boost profitability while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Annual natural gas consumption is expected to drop by 200 million cubic feet, which is the equivalent to taking 2,000 cars off the road.