Energy Consumption Reduced in NY Educational Institute

The Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries Center for Environmental Innovation & Education has repurposed a building to create an extremely energy-efficient multi-use facility.

The project

Educational InstituteThe project entailed adapting an abandoned industrial building and building a new annex for the Beacon Institute, which is in Beacon, in New York State’s Dutchess County. The Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries is a subsidiary of Clarkson University. It’s a not-for-profit environmental research organization.

The Beacon Institute operates several facilities. In this project, a multi-use facility was constructed, with meeting and teaching rooms, an exhibition space, administrative offices, and space for storing mechanical equipment.

The goals of the project were to remain sensitive to the surroundings, and to ensure the building was energy-efficient, sustainable, and constructed using green building practices.


The project was funded and developed by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).  NYSERDA retained the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) to evaluate electric energy efficiency for the project, under the New York Energy Smart New Construction Program.

NYSERDA’s aim is to help New York meet its energy goals: reducing energy consumption, promoting the use of renewable energy sources, and protecting the environment. The Beacon Institute’ goals are also environmental protection. Their mission is to create and maintain a global center for scientific and technological innovation to understand and protect rivers and estuaries.

NYSERDA provided an incentive of $27,755 for the Beacon Institute project.

Beacon Institute’s Senior Project Manager, Regan Coover-Chichester, coordinated the planning, design, and construction of several Beacon Institute projects.

“Our collaboration with NYSERDA began early on in the project, and their technical assistance and support proved invaluable. The building is successful and the experience was enjoyable NYSERDA was a great partner,” she said of the project.

Energy efficiency

The SAIC analyzed the building and design, and provided recommendations to maximize energy efficiency. Several energy efficiency improvements were implemented, including:

  • High efficiency geothermal ground source heat pumps
  • High efficiency windows
  • High efficiency lighting
  • Above code insulation
  • Cooling with natural ventilation
  • Heating domestic water with solar energy

Energy savings

The investment in these energy efficiency building practices and installations will have impressive results.

NYSERDA’s incentives could provide an annual energy saving of over 20%–or 19,856 kWh of electricity. This translated to peak summer demand savings of 5kW. The annual energy cost savings will be over $1,500.

Sources used in researching this article include NYSERDA Case Study: Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries Center for Environmental Innovation & Education

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