The Power Of CHP – How We Made PSECU More Energy Efficient

Power generated on-site, rather than imported from distribution grids, can provide higher reliability, backup generation, and a measure of energy independence.

On-site power generation often has the added advantages of being more cost-effective; with fluctuating energy costs, it can present the solution for improved energy efficiency and cost savings

UGI Performance Solutions, backed by the UGI Corporation, offers on-site power generation using Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technology.

CHP energy solutions typically result in twice the efficiency of grid power and traditional heating and air conditioning systems and deliver multiple levels of resiliency – leading to long-term reduced energy costs and improved environmental profiles, in some cases, helping to reduce carbon footprint by over 50%.

UGI Performance Solutions recently supported the energy needs of one of Pennsylvania’s largest credit unions, PSECU, for their new headquarters in Harrisburg, PA.

PSECU teamed up with UGIPS in their financial and environmental venture, in which UGIPS exclusively developed an onsite power generation system to support the energy security and reliability for the company’s data center.
Front of PSECU Building

 An onsite CHP system, including a Thermmax absorption chiller and four 200kW turbine generators, was developed, ensuing in $80,000 in electricity savings during the first month of microturbine operation.

UGIPS teamed with Quandel Construction to develop a savings assessment related to on-site power generation, to see how it would compare to running a second transmission line to the facility as well as backup diesel generation. It was determined that the best solution was to select A C1000 Capstone turbine, with four 200kW turbine generators expandable to five, and a Thermax absorption chiller to supply 800 kW of power and 300 tons of chilled water to the PSECU’s Data Center.

The configuration ensures N+1+1 reliability of the Data Center while providing excess heating and cooling capability to the PSECU facility. The 2.5 MW diesel generator can support the entire building and Data Center loads, plus the Capstone system can support ongoing Data Center operations on natural gas indefinitely should there be an extended electrical grid outage.

Just recently, 2 years after the project, we followed up with Greg Smith, President of PSECU.

He shared that “This is a new area for us, so it’s been very helpful to have the UGI experts kind of holding our hands and walking us through the process. We’re learning as we go, and the UGI Performance Solutions team has been essential in that”.

As far as the CHP power-grid resiliency project, he stated, “It works. We like having those four layers of power – our own CHP that we generate, battery backup, the grid and diesel. If the lights go off around here, they’ll still be on here at PSECU”.

When asked if he would recommend the UGI Performance solutions team to anyone considering CHP, Greg Smith responded: “Absolutely. We are very comfortable working with UGI. We are looking forward to a good, long-term relationship”.

Finally, one of the many amazing results of the project has been that emissions of carbon dioxide is reduced by 1,468 tons per year, which is equivalent to taking 243 cars off the road.

At UGIPS we are proud of our commitment to innovative answers for improved performance, a healthier environment, and a better bottom line, as we provide customers with CHP system solutions and CHP installations from technologies including turbines, microturbines, heat recovery modules (waste heat boilers), and absorption chillers. 

UGI Performance Solutions, a part of UGI HVAC Enterprises, is CHP Design Builder serving the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic areas.