NewYork-Presbyterian Opens Manhattan's First Eco-Friendly Hospital Energy Plant

Co-Generation Technology Recycles Heat Exhaust Into Usable Energy for Heating and Cooling, Benefitting the Environment and the Bottom Line

Nov 4, 2009


Demonstrating its commitment to clean energy and cost savings, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital has switched on the first hospital-based co-generation plant in Manhattan. Located at 70th St. and York Ave. and unveiled today in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the plant promises to reduce the emission of 20,000 tons of pollutants each year, the equivalent of taking 3,600 automobiles off the road, while adding millions of dollars in annual cost savings.

With the addition of the power from the new plant, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center will generate between 60 percent and 100 percent of its own electricity, meaning less consumption of other "dirtier" forms of energy such as nuclear and coal-fired power plants.

"Co-generation is a win for patients, a win for the environment and a win for our Hospital's bottom line," says Dr. Steven J. Corwin, executive vice president and COO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. "Cleaner air means healthier communities, and the dollars saved by using this technology can be redirected to patient care. By showing that co-generation is possible even given the challenges of a complex, urban environment, we hope to provide a model for other hospitals across the country to do the same."

The 7.5-megawatt, combined heat-and-power system burns natural gas in a turbine to generate electricity continuously 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Heat from the turbine, which is usually wasted as exhaust gas, is captured and reused to generate steam for heating and cooling. The system is slightly larger than a tractor-trailer, with working parts that resemble an oversized jet engine.

"This plant will also provide a completely redundant source of power for inpatient areas. In the event of a widespread power outage, like the Northeast Blackout of 2003, its critical backup power will sustain our critical functions and safeguard patients," says Fritz Reuter, senior vice president of facilities development and real estate at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

A $1.1 million New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) grant helped offset the cost of the equipment.

As part of its strategic plan, the Hospital anticipates installing a second, larger co-generation plant at its NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center campus in the coming years.

PlaNYC, NYPgreen and Beyond

Co-generation is a central component of NewYork-Presbyterian's longstanding commitment to energy savings and environmental conservation. In particular, the technology will help the Hospital fulfill its pledge to decrease its carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2018 as part of the PlaNYC Challenge — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's sustainability initiative.

NewYork-Presbyterian's employee-directed environmental program — NYPgreen — has supported and spearheaded a variety of improvements, including the introduction of a mixed recycling program across all sites, composting, added bicycle racks and hybrid vehicles, and the construction of buildings certified to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

In recognition of wide-ranging energy-saving upgrades, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) honored NewYork-Presbyterian with its ENERGY STAR award four times — the most of any hospital in the nation. This year, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center received an "Environmental Excellence Award" from Practice Greenhealth, recognizing its sustainable practices and efforts to improve the environment. Hospital representatives participated in a panel discussion on business's role in sustainability at the "Greener New York Summit" sponsored by the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. On a separate occasion, they led an online seminar offering tips on launching a successful hospital composting program.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,242 beds. The Hospital has nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 230,000 visits to its emergency departments — more than any other area hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/The Allen Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the largest and most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. For more information, visit

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Linda Kamateh 212-821-0560