The Octagon on Roosevelt Island now powered by a Fuel Cell

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Last week, history was made on Roosevelt Island in New York when the world-famous building known as The Octagon became the first building in New York State to be powered and heated by a fuel cell.


Historic building gone green

The Octagon, originally designed by Alexander Jackson Davis, opened in 1841 and was known as a pinnacle of architecture in its day. In 2006, the building was completely restored, and turned into a green building from top to bottom, achieving Silver LEED Status. The Octagon features 500 apartments, which will now have the additional luxury of being powered by clean energy from a 400 kW fuel cell provided by UTC Power.


Fuel Cell Power for Green Buildings

The 400 kW fuel cell is a combined heat and power system (known as CHP). This system works by taking in natural gas, and converting it to heat and electricity through an electrochemical process that requires no combustion. The CHP power generation system is incredibly efficient, with very few emissions released. Although the fuel cell generates heat during its conversion process, it is all captured and reused to heat the apartments in the building.


The future of green building technology

The developer and architect The Octagon’s remodel believes on-site fuel cell technology to be the future of green building technology. Bruce Becker, President of Becker + Becker said:

“multifamily residential buildings represent a perfect – heretofore uncultivated – opportunity for fuel cell technology because of their ability to continually utilize the fuel cell’s process heat in the form of hot water and space heating demand.”

The Octagon is certainly a great example of how modern green building techniques can be used to reduce the environmental footprint of living spaces. Let’s hope fuel cell power in residential building gains popularity across the world.

  • Ian Andrew

    As the Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greener Ideal, Ian has been a driving force in environmental journalism and sustainable lifestyle advocacy since 2008. With over a decade of dedicated involvement in environmental matters, Ian has established himself as a respected expert in the field. Under his leadership, Greener Ideal has consistently delivered independent news and insightful content that empowers readers to engage with and understand pressing environmental issues.

    Ian’s expertise extends beyond editorial leadership; his hands-on experience in exploring and implementing sustainable practices equips him with practical knowledge that resonates with both industry professionals and eco-conscious audiences. This blend of direct involvement and editorial oversight has positioned Ian as a credible and authoritative voice in environmental journalism and sustainable living.

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