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St. John’s University, Electric Heater Chiller Retrofit

Burns led engineering design for multiple electrification projects, shifting the university off carbon-intensive steam production.

St. John’s University is committed to a 50 percent reduction in campuswide carbon emissions by 2030, aligning with the NYC Carbon Challenge. To support campus decarbonization efforts — and make progress toward complying with New York City’s Local Law 97 (LL97) — the university is undertaking multiple projects to reduce reliance on carbon-intensive steam heating.

Acting as the engineer of record, Burns led mechanical/electrical/plumbing (MEP) design for the following electrification retrofits:

  • Carnesecca Arena: Replaced steam shell-and-tube heat exchanger with packaged air-source heat pump system for domestic hot water production
  • Montgoris Dining Hall: Replaced three steam absorption chillers with electric heater chillers to allow for chilled and heating hot water production. Piping infrastructure and controls enable future connection with a centralized ground-source heat pump district loop
  • School of Law: Replaced two steam absorption chillers with electric heater chillers. Upgraded steam shell-and-tube heat exchanger with a packaged air-source heat pump system for domestic hot water production
  • Louise de Marillac Hall: Replaced packaged terminal air conditioners (PTAC), including steam heating coils, with variable refrigerant flow heat pump units

The electrification projects reduce steam consumption, lowering campus fueling costs by decreasing demand on the central boiler plant. Calculated carbon emission reductions qualified the university for nearly $1.8 million in rebates from New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Projections of overall carbon reductions will avoid an estimated $300,000 in potential LL97 non-compliance fines. LL97 imposes legally binding emission limits on most New York City buildings larger than 25,000 square feet.

St. John’s is completing the retrofit projects in phases. Construction is scheduled to complete by winter 2023.

Photo credit: “St John’s University” by H.L.I.T., licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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Project Lead

Dimitri Dumerlin, LEED AP

Healthcare/Facilities & Infrastructure Project Manager