Washtenaw College and the United Association (UA) International Training Fund are saving nearly $60,000 in utility costs each year with a combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) system. The site selected also provides a platform for up to 20 students to gather for demonstrations on operation and maintenance.

GEM Energy was selected to install the natural gas-powered system, which includes two Capstone C65 microturbines, an absorption chiller and new cooling tower. A FlexSet DG monitoring system displays real-time operating results.

The system generates 130 kW of electricity, 800,000 BTU/h of hot water, and 50 tons of chilled water for the Great Lakes Regional Training Center at the college. Excess heat is then captured and used to help with air conditioning of the buildings. The system reduces the center’s carbon footprint by 889 metric tons of greenhouse gases, equal to that produced by 146 automobiles.

GEM Energy also donated a stand-alone Capstone microturbine unit which is housed in the HVAC classroom lab where engineering staff from GEM Energy conduct training for future energy professionals.  The system’s cooling tower, located on a rooftop ‘green classroom,’ allows the training center’s students to interact with that equipment in a hands-on learning environment.

The whole beauty of this system is that you gain from one energy source, in this case the natural gas, and receive the output of two different energy sources. Additionally, our carbon footprint is reduced by the fact that we’re not using other power sources which use fossil fuels.

Damon Flowers, Vice President of Facilities
Washtenaw Community College

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