Schools have long been at the forefront of green infrastructure initiatives. It is a marriage that makes perfect sense as a greener infrastructure saves costs, improves the health of students, and contributes to better academic performance. Here are some green infrastructure initiatives at three US schools, Fairfield University, Longwood Central School and Ball State University.
At the Longwood Central School District in Long Island, New York, four Flex Energy microturbines are currently being installed as part of a comprehensive energy savings project. These turbines include an integrated hot water cogeneration module to allow for a mechanical connection to multiple facility hot water systems, as well as absorption chilling. The Flex turbines alone will produce the equivalent of 120 tons of air conditioning through an absorption chiller by capturing waste heat.
The Flex microturbines will reduce Longwood’s energy costs from $0.198 per kWh to $0.09 per kWh, reducing energy costs by over 50 percent.
Ball State University in Indiana has built a geothermal energy system that will enable the school to retire their four coal-fired boilers. The $80 million geothermal project – consisting of 3,600 boreholes – will heat and cool 47 buildings on campus. The changeover takes the school from consuming about 36,000 tons of coal a year to renewable energy, while saving $2 million a year in operating costs.
Some schools have opted for a wide range of smaller projects. Fairfield University in Connecticut is reducing their use of energy through several measures. These initiatives run the gamut from the installation of LED lighting to elevator retrofits that incorporate regenerative converters. This system actually stores the energy from the elevators operations which is then fed into the building’s power grid.
Fairfield has also installed high-efficiency, front-loading washing machines, in dorms. These machines use half of the water of traditional top-loaders and they help conserve energy by reducing the time clothes need to be in the dryer. The school has also put up energy dashboards that help encourage behavioral changes that can reduce power usages.
Finally Fairfield has installed a combined heat and power (CHP) plant to recover otherwise wasted heat to produce hot water for campus heating and cooling.
Make sure to see the article titled, “Comprehensive Green School Information and Resources.” It contains links to over 300 articles covering everything you need to know about sustainable academics, student eco-initiatives, green school buildings, and college rankings as well as a wide range of related information and resources.