Rochester City Hall, located in upstate New York, is now protected from future power outages thanks to the installation of an 800 kW standby power system from Generac Industrial Power. The solution provides standby power protection for the entire building, ensuring the city’s most critical systems will operate whether or not local utility power is available.
The City Hall building houses the mayor’s city clerk’s office, neighborhood business development, human and environmental resources, financial communications and special events as well as other city functions. Given their need for a continuous power, a utility power outage would cause a major delay in the city’s day-to-day operations.
Rochester City Hall required a backup power solution that could support the full extent of their infrastructure’s needs, which include a variety of large equipment loads. So when contacted to design a standby power solution that could support their building, Generac Industrial Distributor, R.L. Kistler, took all of the building’s unique requirements into account and specified a standby power system that would power a variety of large equipment loads from lighting, computers and cooling towers to data servers, kitchen equipment and HVAC appliances. However, as additional needs continued to surface, multiple factors came into play, and R.L. Kistler’s vision began to transform.
“While the original specifications would have easily met Rochester City Hall’s emergency power needs, they requested that we create a solution that could support their demand response programs as well,” said Steve Huber, R.L. Kistler’s Sales Engineer. “In addition to their plans to expand their infrastructure in the future, this additional requirement created the need for an 800 kW solution. Specifying the system’s size was relatively straight-forward, but designing a solution that could fit within the limited space available for installation was more of a challenge.”
As the building is located in downtown Rochester, space available for installation was at a premium. Placing the generator on top of the building was not an applicable option, as it already featured a green rooftop. To further the complexity of the project, there was a need for flexibility, as the city wanted to proactively prepare for future building expansions. Taking these needs into consideration, R.L. Kistler started working on an alternative plan that would meet a minimal footprint requirement, support grid isolation requirements, and afford room for future building advancements.
While a diesel-powered solution was originally specified, R.L. Kistler opted for a natural gas fuel source. Fuel storage space was significantly limited, and a continuous fuel source like natural gas would help meet the building’s needs for emergency power and demand response capabilities. By taking all spatial, fueling and grid isolation factors into consideration, the engineering firm working on the project, Stantec Consulting, then proposed an innovative solution.
“After discussing Rochester City Hall’s unique needs with R.L. Kistler, we suggested stacking two paralleled generators on top of one another in the small outdoor space allocated for the product’s installation,” said Carl Assini, Stantec’s Electrical Engineer. “This enabled us to create an MPS solution that offers redundant power and allows an 800 kW system to fit in the footprint of a 400 kW unit. It also allows natural gas to be utilized while facilitating prime power applications and giving the end user flexibility in their grid isolation program.”
Despite identifying a solution that met footprint requirements and power output needs, the City of Rochester still had concerns regarding the systems’ sound and exhaust emissions, given the building’s busy location. To quell their concerns, Level 2 sound enclosures were ordered for each generator, and sound-deadening louvers were installed to absorb any sound output emitted from the generators. The exhaust discharge for each unit was then extended up the side of the main building, and a separate fan was placed at the top of each generator to expel excess heat.
Lastly, with the building located in downtown Rochester, the city considered the appearance of their standby application to be nearly as important as their heat and sound emission requirements. Considering this, Stantec’s architecture team designed and constructed a precast walling system that was built around the generators to match the building’s exterior. Doing so allowed the generators to blend into the building’s overall appearance. To complete the installation process, a 1600-amp automatic transfer switch was installed, and local inspectors finalized the commissioning process by testing the system for startup and performance.
Now equipped with an aesthetically-pleasing addition to their building and existing infrastructure, Rochester City Hall is now protected by a backup power system that allows them to function seamlessly regardless of external threats to the power grid. This flexible standby solution provides room for the building’s future growth while ensuring the city will always have the power needed to serve their community at all times.