Capture—And Reuse

How Beacon Capital is supplementing grid-sourced energy with its fuel cell installation at 1211 Avenue of the Americas.

As Beacon Capital’s experience at its Rockefeller Center-adjacent tower, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, demonstrates, energy efficiency further improves if waste heat from fuel cell energy generation is captured in a combined heat and power (CHP) configuration. Waste heat from the building’s UTC Power-supplied fuel cell is used to make hot water for News Corp.’s fitness center and cafeteria, as space heating for the Fox News division’s street-level studios and the building lobby during the winter months, and for bathrooms in the lower portion of the building.

“The heat we recover provides significant value; without it the economics would be far less attractive,” pointed out Al Scaramelli, the senior vice president overseeing Beacon’s energy and sustainability projects. “So we are looking (at additional installations) primarily at locations where we have considerable demand for hot water year-round”—including multi-tenant properties.

Logically, CHP-configured fuel cells pencil out particularly well in the hospitality sector, given the heavy use of hot water for showers as well as laundry facilities, pools/spas and dishwashers. For instance, owners of San Diego’s historic 131-key Lafayette Hotel installed a 40-kilowatt fuel cell from ClearEdge Power that meets about 45 percent of the low-rise property’s energy needs and lower its carbon footprint by an estimated 40-plus percent.

For more on Beacon’s and other multi-tenant property installation of fuel cells, see “Stored Energy” in the March 2013 issue of Commercial Property Executive.