A $5.5 million grant from PSE&G will help smooth the path toward green initiatives at the new University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro.

The grant, part of a $7 million incentive package that includes a $1.5 million loan to support the hospital’s planned $60 million initiative, was announced at the December 3 “topping off” ceremony, at which the final steel beam was set into place. The hospital’s 50-acre Plainsboro campus is under construction off Route 1 and is expected to open in late 2011.

The green initiative includes a 4.6-megawatt natural gas-fired co-generation plant developed in partnership with NRG Energy in Carnegie Center that will provide solar shading, solar power, and thermal energy storage. The energy generated by the solar panels is enough to power about 30 single family homes.

Chilled water is produced and stored at night, which will be used for cooling purposes, and it will also reduce power demand from the grid for the hospital. This thermal energy storage feature will save a significant amount of energy costs for the hospital.

Also, the exterior of the patient tower will be clad in sun-shielding louvers, allowing the building to have expansive windows to provide 90 percent of interior spaces with natural light. It also shields the interior of the building from the sun’s heat and saves on cooling costs.

There also will be 15 solar groves, used to convert sunlight directly into electricity, placed over a portion of the hospital’s parking lot to produce enough energy to power 30 average-sized single family homes.

The funding from PSE&G comes from the utility’s new Hospital Efficiency Program, which is available for new construction and retrofit projects at facilities in PSE&G’s territory.

Princeton HealthCare System: University Medical Center at Princeton, 253 Witherspoon Street, Princeton 08540; 609-497-4000; fax, 609-497-4991. Barry S. Rabner, president and CEO. Home page: www.princetonhcs.org.

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