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Walsh Family Library Gets Clean Energy Boost


As New York City observes Climate Week 2019 this week, Fordham is committing to the installation of clean energy servers next to the William D. Walsh Family Library on the Rose Hill campus.

The 250-kilowatt installation, which will be installed by Bloom Energy, will generate clean electricity on site and provide that power directly to the five-story, 240,000-square-foot library.

The solid oxide fuel cell technology produces electricity without combustion using a highly efficient electrochemical process, resulting in electricity that is cleaner than the local utility grid. As a result, Fordham will offset more than 300 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year—the equivalent of burning 328,000 pounds of coal.

In addition to generating virtually none of the smog-forming particulate emissions that cause air pollution and respiratory distress, the servers use almost no water. By contrast, the power plants that supply the U.S. grid withdraw 150 million more gallons of water per megawatt of electricity each year. With their use, Fordham will conserve 39 million gallons of water annually, in keeping with a pledge the University made last year when it signed onto the New York City’s Water Challenge, which called for Universities to reduce their water use by 5%. The installation is also expected to result in lower and more predictable energy expenses.

“We are deeply aware of the fact that responsible stewardship of the Earth is a charge from God our creator, who has entrusted it to our care,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham.

“Therefore, we are aware that we must bring to the present challenge all the wisdom and commitment that we can muster. The new servers are an important part of our strategy to make a meaningful reduction in our carbon footprint.”

Bill Bockoven, vice president of Eastern Region at Bloom Energy, applauded Fordham for its efforts.

“Fordham University is ahead of the curve in sustainable campus practices and green campus initiatives,” he said.

“By adopting innovative technology to achieve green campus goals, Fordham illustrates its foresight and investment in protecting the campus and local environment, and leadership in the midst of today’s climate realities.”

The installation is the latest in a series of steps that Fordham has taken to shrink its carbon footprint. As part of its commitment to meet New York City’s Carbon Challenge to reduce its carbon footprint by 40% by 2030, the University in March covered the roof of the Rose Hill parking garage with a 963-kilowatt solar panel array. In July, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, FCRH ’79, chose Fordham as the location to sign into law the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

The Walsh Family Library, which first opened in 1997, is the largest of the University’s three libraries and is host to more than one million volumes. It is also one of the most energy-intensive buildings on campus, and is the site of the Fordham’s first solar panel installation, a 25 kilowatt array installed in 2010.

A groundbreaking for the installation is scheduled for later this fall.

diagream explaining how a fuel cell works


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