Harvard’s new, 58,000 sq. ft. District Energy Facility (DEF) is a lower-carbon, climate resistant system that provides heating, cooling, and electricity to support Harvard's academic and research activities in Allston. This includes the University’s new Science and Engineering Complex (SEC). The DEF has also been designed to support future academic and institutional growth in Allston.
The facility has a 1.3-million-gallon tank for storing chilled water that is used to cool buildings with some limited other applications to support research. The tank is analogous to an enormous battery because the chilled water will be produced and stored during off-peak hours, typically nights and weekends, when electricity is cheaper and less-polluting. It can then be used during the daytime when needed, lowering the burden on the power grid during peak times.