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New York University Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony for New Co-Generation Plant

August 12, 2008
N-514 2007-08

New York University today broke ground at the site of its new, state-of-the art, environmentally friendly co-generation plant in a ceremony attended by elected officials, local leaders, and University representatives. The facility will be located underground on Mercer Street between West 3rd and West 4th Streets.

Co-generation, also known as combined heat and power (CHP), refers to the simultaneous production of electricity and thermal energy. A major component of NYU’s “Green Action Plan,” - NYU’s wide-ranging sustainability effort ( - and NYU’s commitment to meet Mayor Bloomberg’s PlanNYC 2030 challenge, the new co-generation facility will lead to a 75 percent reduction of regulated pollutants and a decrease of over 5,000 tons of greenhouse pollutants emitted annually. In addition, the facility will triple the University’s capacity to provide power to its buildings with cleaner energy and will remove these buildings from the over-burdened local utility grid.

The project, which was endorsed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and by Community Board 2, is expected to be completed during summer 2009.

The land over facility will be landscaped as a new open space. NYU will work with the New York City Parks Department; a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) of local residents, Community Board members, and local elected officials; and Mathews Nielsen, a landscape architecture firm chosen by the CAC to collaborate on creating an inviting, usable, and visually pleasing open space. The work of the CAC is expected to conclude in the fall when the proposed design will be reviewed by Community Board 2.

John Sexton, NYU’s President, said, “The presence of so many of our friends, neighbors, and elected leaders at the ground-breaking for NYU’s new, below-ground co-generation facility is not a coincidence. This project not only exemplified a new, more constructive dialogue with our local community and it leaders, but it also has clear and widespread benefits in and of itself. It benefits our city’s environment, by reducing pollutants and greenhouse emissions and vastly increasing the efficiency of energy production compared to conventional technologies. It benefits the neighborhood, by reducing the University’s dependence on the local electric grid. It benefits the city’s economy, as a major construction project. And it benefits our local community, because it will be green above-ground and below: this spot where we stand today will ultimately be a lovely park designed in collaboration with neighborhood representatives and leaders.”

Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer said,” We all have to do more as part of going green, and I want to commend NYU for taking such a strong leadership role in this effort. This exciting eco-friendly endeavor is one we hope other organizations will look to for inspiration.”

Congressman Jerrold Nadler said, “I want to commend NYU for taking this step towards becoming a more environmentally friendly institution with the recent upgrade to its “co-gen” plant. Not only does this project remove buildings from the heavily burdened local utility grid, it will also provide a 75 percent decrease of regulated pollutants. We look forward to additional steps the University will take in going green. I hope that other institutions in the Village, as well as throughout the city, look to follow NYU’s leadership in this effort.”

New York State Senator Tom Duane said, “I want to commend NYU for pursuing an environmentally sound way to produce energy and reduce pollution in the area, as well as for honoring its commitment to mitigate the impact of this project on the surrounding community. As a participant in the Mercer Street Plaza Community Advisory Committee, which includes local residents and businesses, Community Board 2 members and elected officials, I appreciate this important opportunity for the community to participate in shaping the design and use of the new open space that will exist here on Mercer Street after work on NYU’s co-generation plant has terminated.”

New York City Councilmember Alan Gerson said, “With this groundbreaking NYU leads the City in a huge step toward true environmental sustainability.”

Brad Hoylman, Chair of Community Board 2, Manhattan said, “NYU’s co-generation project is an important step forward in sustainability. In addition, NYU has committed itself to working closely with the local community to design and create new open space in the area. We on CB 2 look forward to this and other neighborhood enhancements as a result of this project.”

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: Christopher James | (212) 998-6876

NYC Councilmember Alan Gerson gives remarks while [R to L] NYU Pres.  John Sexton, Manhattan BP Scott Stringer, NYU Courant Director Leslie Greengard, NYU Sr. VP Lynne Brown,  and NYU Co-Gen Supervisor Martin Kushner look on.

NYC Councilmember Alan Gerson gives remarks while [R to L] NYU Pres. John Sexton, Manhattan BP Scott Stringer, NYU Courant Director Leslie Greengard, NYU Sr. VP Lynne Brown, and NYU Co-Gen Supervisor Martin Kushner look on.

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