Distributed electric generation systems are increasingly considered to offset energy costs and carbon emissions of large building complexes. College campuses, with their physical compactness, and diversity in building loads, present a common application for distributed generation systems. This paper presents the analysis approach and the main results of a feasibility study of a distributed generation system to supply electric and thermal energy for a large university campus, incorporating energy efficiency measures, to reduce carbon emissions at minimal life cycle cost.
The presented study uses a load profile developed based on calibrated detailed simulation energy models for prototypical campus buildings. The calibration analysis is carried out using measured energy consumption data, at the individual building level, and the whole-campus level. Several combinations of distributed generation options are evaluated, using an hourly optimization analysis tool, to meet the entire campus hourly electrical and thermal loads. Proposed efficiency measures and distributed generation options are evaluated using different indicators, including life cycle cost and carbon emissions.
The analysis results indicate that implementing energy efficiency measures to reduce electrical and thermal loads before implementing distributed generation options is the most cost-effective approach to reducing the campus’s energy-related carbon emissions. The results of the study are summarized to guide college campuses and managers of other urban districts as they adapt to a changing energy landscape.