NJIT students will have the option next fall to live in a state-of-the-art, energy efficient, renewable energy building, thanks to $1.6 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The university’s Oak Residence Hall upgrade project has been approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and the U.S. Department of Energy as one of seven projects in the $20.6 million State Energy Program funded by ARRA.
The upgrade of the 25-year-old Oak Hall, scheduled for completion in 2010, is estimated to reduce electrical energy use by 50 percent and fossil energy use by 40 percent. According to Boris Shapiro, executive director of technical services and program project manager, the plan utilizes a number of innovative renewable energy and energy efficient technologies.
“NJIT’s facilities team has created an energy improvement plan that utilizes an innovative mix of technology to upgrade operations and reduce the ecological footprint of this building,” Shapiro said. “We expect Oak Hall to emerge as a model building that can be used to introduce energy efficiency concepts to the state’s higher education community.”
The technologies being used in the Oak Hall project include:
- Demand-based controls: Utilizing variable speed components for heating, ventilation and air conditioning conserves energy through lower fan and pump speeds during times of lower temperature control demand.
- Solar Water Heating: Solar energy is converted to heat for potable hot water applications within the building, displacing gas heat as the primary source of hot water for showers, cooking, laundry, etc.
- Solar Photovoltaic: Solar energy is converted to electrical energy for residential applications within the building. The direct current electricity generated by photovoltaic cells mounted on the roof is converted via electronic inverters to usable AC voltage within the building. When more electricity is generated than is needed – during the summer, for example – the energy can be exported for use elsewhere.
- Regenerative Elevator Technology: This system allows the capture of energy generated in reverse cycles – going down with a heavy load or coming up with a light load. The energy recovered is then converted to electricity for use in the building.
- Higher-efficiency Lighting: Up-to-date fluorescent technologies are being installed in rooms and common areas.
Joseph Tartaglia, associate vice president for facilities management, who is program director for the Oak Hall project, said that Oak Hall is part of an established and robust building and improvement program at the university that focuses on energy efficiency, renewable energy and environmental pollution control. Currently, NJIT is also installing similar efficiencies in three main buildings on campus – Guttenberg Information Technology Center, Campus Center and Fenster Hall.