Save Money and Address the Climate Crisis with Advanced Heat Recovery


| 5/28/2019 10:27:00 AM


 

One of the important attractions at the Science Museum of Minnesota is hidden away deep in the interior of the building. Yet people still find it interesting and inspiring. Last year more than 200 engineers, building operation managers, environmental activists and other curious folk descended into the museum’s cavernous first floor mechanical room to witness a breakthrough technology that helps curb climate change while saving money and promoting green jobs.

At first glance, it’s not all that impressive. The Advanced Heat Recovery (AHR) system resembles a backyard grill crossed with a water heater, decked out with an enormous fuse box and pipes running here and there. It looks like something that might win top honors at a high school science fair for cooking 400 hot dogs at once.

What’s impressive is that it prevents about 1.8 million pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere each year, cutting the museum’s carbon footprint by 16 percent. This is significant in the fight against climate change, stresses Patrick Hamilton, the museum’s Director of Global Change Initiatives, because buildings account for one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

While grants covered the cost of the Science Museum project, Hamilton estimated that the system otherwise would have paid for itself in three years.



“We love that,” he said, “because it means we have $293,000 that can be redirected to the scientific and educational mission of the museum rather than to paying utility bills.”



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