GEM Energy completes combined cooling, heat and power system for Washtenaw Community College

GEM Energy, of Walbridge, Ohio, has completed Washtenaw Community College's first combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) system – and donated another micro-turbine to train future energy professionals in the college's United Association (UA) Great Lakes Regional Training Center.

Ann Arbor, Michigan – GEM Energy, of Walbridge, Ohio, has completed Washtenaw Community College's first combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) system – and donated another micro-turbine to train future energy professionals in the college's United Association (UA) Great Lakes Regional Training Center.


Washtenaw Community College and the UA International Training Fund will avoid nearly $60,000 in utility costs each year with the new CCHP system, which will generate 130 kW of electricity, 800,000 BTU/h (British Thermal Units per hour) of hot water, and 50 tons of chilled water for the Great Lakes Regional Training Center. The system will produce enough energy on site for 50-60 homes. Ultimately, the CCHP system will reduce the training center's carbon footprint by 889 metric tons of greenhouse gases, equal to that produced by 146 automobiles.

The natural gas-powered system, designed and built by GEM Energy, will include two Capstone C65 micro-turbines, an absorption chiller and a new cooling tower. A FlexSet Distributed Generation monitoring system will display real-time operating results.

Dr. Rose B. Bellanca, President of Washtenaw Community College, said, "We could not be more grateful to GEM Energy for our college's first combined cooling, heat and power system. Additionally, the company's donation of a micro-turbine to train future energy professionals in the United Association Great Lakes Regional Training Center on our campus will have long-lasting effects for those who learn how it works and can appreciate its value from a sustainability perspective. I hope this collaboration between our college and GEM Energy continues far into the future."

The turnkey design/build project was commissioned at the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry (UA) Instructor Training Program on August 13.

GEM Energy also donated a Capstone C30 micro-turbine for teaching students in the college's UA training program. The new cooling tower, installed on the roof of an existing building at the college's training center, provides another educational tool. Students will use the FlexSet DG monitoring system in the classroom to learn about the college's new CCHP system.

"The United Association has a long tradition of training in the latest technologies, and the generosity of GEM Energy will have a definite and lasting impact on our ability to prepare our apprentices and journeymen on the installation and maintenance of these systems. We are very grateful to GEM Energy for its commitment and its vision in supporting our program," said Chris Haslinger, Director of Training for the United Association.

Dave Smith, Vice President Engineering-Distributed Energy Systems for GEM Energy, will teach two 40-hour classes each year at the college's training center for the next three years.

"Energy services is a fast-growing industry, as more of our customers become aware of the benefits," Smith said. "It's an exciting profession with a great deal of opportunity, and we look forward to supporting the young people who will be leading this industry in the future."

The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States, Canada and Australia (UA), is affiliated with the national building trades and represents approximately 370,000 plumbers, pipe fitters, sprinkler fitters and service technicians in North America and Australia. The UA is a multi-craft union whose members are employed in the fabrication, installation and servicing of piping systems.

GEM Energy, one of the Rudolph/Libbe Companies, provides comprehensive energy services and technologies including integration of power generation, advanced heating and cooling systems, procurement, solar development, and FlexSet energy monitoring/building control systems for commercial, industrial, institutional and mission critical facilities. GEM Energy is the authorized distributor for Capstone Micro Turbines in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and New York. The Rudolph/Libbe Companies is among the region's largest contractors and employs 1,000-1,500 construction trades through offices in Lima, Toledo, Cleveland and Walbridge, Ohio; and Plymouth, Michigan.

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