When 140 West 62nd Street reopens its doors to the Fordham community this summer after a $70 million renovation, occupants of the former home of the Fordham School of Law will be kept cool, thanks to steam generated on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Chillers installed on the top floor of the future home for the Gabelli School of Business at Lincoln Center, the Quinn Library, and Fordham College at Lincoln Center will convert steam from Con Edison’s 14th Street cogeneration plant.

On May 5th, representatives from the utility presented Fordham’s facilities management department with a check for $225,600, which the University will use to defray the costs of installing the chillers. When it opens, the building will be the second one on the Lincoln Center campus, along with the Lowenstein Center, to use steam to power its air conditioners.

Marco Valera, vice president for facilities, said the University has also negotiated a preferred rate for the steam, making it ideal for the building, which was completely gut-renovated.

“It allowed us to take advantage of what would be waste steam that ConEd generates. So in many ways it’s very green. We’re taking something that would not be utilized, and we’re using it in lieu of electrical power,” he said.

“By negotiating a preferred rate as well as a preliminary discount on the equipment, we’ve managed to have a return on investment of the physical plant of under 10 years, which is very good for an engineering plant.”

Charles Viemester, manager of steam business development at ConEd, said that the steam that New Yorkers occasionally see coming out of the distinct candy-stripe towers atop manhole covers offsets just short of 300 megawatts of electrical power in the summer, thanks to installations such as Fordham’s.

“You’re putting a very efficient energy source into the building, and by staying with steam, you’re keeping your carbon footprint down, too,” he said.

“Anytime you see a tall building, you’re probably looking at a place that’s sourced by steam. Steam is a very efficient way of getting energy up to the top of these tall buildings. The system has been in place for 137 years, and yet it is still finding new uses and new benefits to bring to the city.

Pictured: Deborah L. Russelli, director of business operations in the Office of the Vice President for Facilities Management; Fran Rooney, senior analyst, energy efficiency, Luthin Associates Energy Management Consulting; Marco Valera, vice present of facilities at Fordham; Joseph Scaltro, director of engineering services at Lincoln Center; Charles Viemester, manager steam business development at Con Edison; David Pospisil, manager, Commercial & Industrial Energy Efficiency Programs, Con Edison; Michelle D’Angelo, engineer, steam services, Con Edison; and Scott Springer, operations manager, commercial energy efficiency and demand management programs, Con Edison


Patrick Verel is a news producer for Fordham Now. He can be reached at [email protected] or (212) 636-7790.