Powering recovery from Sandy

Rochester Business Journal

By Andrea Deckert:

The company’s power plant at a co-op residential building in Manhattan kept the power on for more than four days in the aftermath of Sandy. The power plant was designed as a cogeneration plant to provide economic savings to the building, but it also served as backup power.

Joe Weinschreider, Energy Concepts’ senior engineer and one of the company’s founders, designed the 400-kilowatt cogeneration system for the building at 11 Fifth Ave. in 2009 with the intent to provide the entire building with power during a blackout.

He estimates there are 720 regular tenants in the building, and during the storm, the number of people in the building rose to roughly 1,500. People came from other parts of Manhattan, along with Brooklyn, Queens and Westchester, Weinschreider said.

“The fact that the 20-story building had heat, electricity and—most important—water was huge,” he said. “Other nearby buildings ran out of water, and without pumps to deliver it up the high-rises, tenants could not even use bathrooms.”

Founded in 1999, Energy Concepts specializes in cogeneration and on-site power and has designed more than 75 cogeneration plants. The firm has plants at the Greater Rochester International Airport and several school buildings in Greece, and most recently it completed a 2.2-megawatt cogeneration plant for St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Utica.

Energy Concepts employs 16 workers—including 13 in Rochester—and has additional offices in New York City and New Jersey.

“It’s always good to help our clients save money and energy, but when our systems can help during catastrophic events, that makes it even better,” Weinschreider said.

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