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Rochester District Heating Cooperative finishes infrastructure updates

Rochester District Heating Cooperative has completed its $7 million downtown facility modernization projects. The infrastructure updates will allow the nonprofit thermal energy cooperative to provide buildings throughout Rochester’s Center City with cost-conscious thermal energy.

RDH is the state’s only nonprofit thermal energy cooperative. The agency owns and manages Rochester’s district energy system that supplies thermal energy to 46 buildings, totaling more than 8.5 million square feet and nine miles of distribution piping in downtown Rochester.

“The recent investments to the Lawn Street plant are part of RDH’s three-pillar strategic plan that further positions the cooperative to support the renaissance of Rochester,” RDH general manager John Duchesneau said in a statement. “The updates to the legacy infrastructure have increased our capacity, redundancy and efficiency—making RDH a competitive choice for building owners and developers looking for an alternative energy source.”

The upgrades eliminate the need for building owners to invest in their own equipment, Duchesneau said.

Through New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Flexible Technical Program, a study provided in-depth analysis and a complex energy model. The study identified energy efficiency measures for the plant, resulting in the demolition of a nearly 7-story tall 1920s boiler and replacing it with two new packaged boilers.

EMCOR Services Betlem played a key role in the organization’s modernization, which also included additional flue gas heat recovery equipment, steam-driven electrical generation and state-of-the-art controls and automation.

“This project is an excellent example of how the business community can come together to make their community cleaner and healthier for residents,” NYSERDA President and CEO Alicia Barton said.

RDH already has experienced a 12 percent savings in natural gas, the equivalent of 3,450 tons of carbon dioxide, as a result, officials said. It is the second large-scale facility upgrade since the formation of RDH in 1985, when the organization invested $9 million to upgrade Rochester’s Center City district energy system.

“Downtown Rochester is on the move with a rapidly changing landscape, increased activity and new development,” City of Rochester commissioner of environmental services Norman Jones said. “A positive influence and unique to the area, RDH is powering the development of Rochester’s Center City.”

Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

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