Past Construction Projects

Powerhouse Chiller Plant Expansion

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Columbia University's goal is to provide economical and reliable air conditioning on a 24-hour basis to its Morningside campus buildings. In order to meet growing cooling demands, the University has committed to undertake a major expansion of its original powerhouse--the central cooling plant on the Morningside Heights campus.

The powerhouse, which measures approximately 12,000 square feet, will be renovated and receive two new, ultra efficient chillers. One of the 2,800 ton chillers is driven by a steam turbine and the other chiller utilizes an electric motor. The flexibility to draw on either steam or electric power reduces stress on the electrical grid during the summer months and allows the University to respond to changing energy costs and demand year round. 

Together these new refrigeration machines will provide an additional 5,600 tons of cooling to the Morningside campus, which represents roughly half of the cooling capacity required to service peak demand for the campus. They will also produce chilled water 25 to 30 percent more efficiently, reducing the consumption of fossil fuels, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy costs. 

In addition to the upgraded powerhouse and new chillers, older chillers that were previously scattered across the Morningside campus will be centralized within the University's renovated powerhouse. Ultimately, this will create a central cooling plant and a central heating plant for the University.


  • Upgraded and expanded powerhouse 
  • 2 new, ultra efficient chillers

TEAM: Led by Columbia University Facilities' Operations

LOCATION: The powerhouse is located within the Grove, the central waste management facility on the Morningside campus. This is located at 119th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.

SQUARE FOOTAGE: 12,000 square feet

START DATE: January 2010


CONTACT: If you have any questions or concerns about this project, please e-mail [email protected] or call the Columbia University Facilities Services Center at 212-854-2222, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.