Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Greenbrier public faculties make investments $14M in renewable power  – Actual WV


By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV

Behind the mixed campus of Western Greenbrier Middle School and Rupert Elementary School, engineers with CMTA are remodeling former empty fields into renewable power sources. A photo voltaic array roughly the scale of a soccer subject sits straight subsequent to 81 geothermal wells which are practically 500 ft deep. And that is just the start.

“This challenge touches each faculty in Greenbrier County,” mentioned Jason Tyler, Construction Manager for CMTA. “We’re very proud to be part of it.”

The particulars of the power saving challenge

Workers put collectively photo voltaic panels behind Rupert Elementary School. Photo by RealWV.

In complete, Greenbrier County Schools (GCS) spent $14 million on a complete power conservation challenge. They will obtain a $2 million credit score as a part of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and save $500,000 per yr for at the least the following ten years on their utility payments.

According to GCS, the challenge contains 5 elements:

  1. Comprehensive Analysis: An in depth evaluation of all faculty facility lighting, HVAC techniques, and utility prices was performed over a three-year interval to establish alternatives for enchancment and power financial savings.
  2. Geothermal & Solar Power Installation: Solar fields at Western Greenbrier, Rupert Elementary, and Rainelle Elementary Schools. A geothermal properly subject in Western Greenbrier and Rupert. Combined, these sources of renewable power will permit the varsity to supply sufficient of their very own power to run the colleges whereas additionally promoting any extra power produced again to the grid for a credit score that carries on the expense of different faculties.
  3. Infrastructure Upgrades: Replacement of outdated HVAC techniques, set up of power environment friendly LED lighting, and implementation of power administration management techniques in all faculties within the county.
  4. Window Replacements: All exterior home windows at Greenbrier East High School will probably be changed with power environment friendly home windows to scale back power consumption and enhance faculty security.
  5. Impact on Education: Beyond the monetary financial savings, county faculty officers say it is going to function a educating interval for college kids and permit assets to be redirected from utility payments to to handle pupil providers.

Sarah Wiegman is the lead Engineer for CMTA on the challenge. “If it is an excessive amount of solar and we’re producing greater than we’d like right here on the faculty, the varsity will get a credit score for that on the grid. On a cloudy day, it is perhaps sufficient for this faculty.”

Tyler added that the effectivity as a result of new controls may also make an enormous distinction. “The new controls enhance the longevity of your tools and you do not waste power when the constructing is just not in use, corresponding to through the summer time.”

Jason Tyler is the Construction Manager for CMTA on the Greenbrier renewable challenge. Photo by RealWV.

Tyler started working night time shifts in March and plans to finish your entire challenge by August 8. “That’s our deadline, and we have by no means missed a deadline in 13 years,” he mentioned proudly. “We do not need to begin now.”

CMTA has made important progress. The geothermal and photo voltaic properly fields are full, apart from the set up of a security fence and gravel. New HVAC models and controllers are actually being put in. New home windows at Greenbrier East had been put in this summer time together with new lighting in all faculties.

Other faculty techniques like Grant County, Kanawha County, and Berkeley County have additionally completed power effectivity tasks because of the IRA, however Greenbrier County is the biggest CMTA has completed to this point.

“When accomplished, the photo voltaic subject in Greenbrier County would be the largest within the state that we now have constructed,” Tyler mentioned.

How do renewable power techniques work?

Sarah Wiegam is the lead Engineer for CMTA, primarily based in Louisville, KY, on the Greenbrier County Schools renewable power program. The educating module on the faculty entrance will permit lecturers to show college students in regards to the renewable power that powers their faculty. Photo by RealWV.

Wiegman likened using geothermal power to a battery, saying, “Basically we use the earth to deposit or extract warmth. I like to think about it like a battery. In the summer time, we take all the warmth comes from the constructing and masses it into the bottom. In the winter, we drain the battery and we take the warmth from the bottom inside.

It requires warmth pumps in each classroom at Rupert Elementary and Western Greenbrier, which will probably be put in this summer time.

“It’s a closed water system,” Tyler defined, “so as soon as we shut it down there is no upkeep.”

Similarly, he mentioned that the photo voltaic subject doesn’t require any common upkeep. The panels take in the power, run it by means of an inverter, after which use it because the constructing wants it for home equipment, lighting, and so on.

“Unless you may have a floor fault problem,” Tyler provides, “which you’ll be able to monitor usually, there is no upkeep.”

Why renewable?

Photo by RealWV.

Western Greenbrier County has lengthy been residence to a number of coal mines. Officials say this growth is meant to not exchange conventional power sources however to diversify, get monetary savings, and protect the planet for the longer term.

“We are devoted to enhancing our amenities in fiscally accountable and environmentally sustainable methods,” mentioned Superintendent Jeff Bryant. “This challenge not solely represents a big funding in our infrastructure but in addition demonstrates our dedication to future generations by decreasing our environmental footprint and guaranteeing the longevity of our faculties.”

“I at all times knew I wished to pursue a profession in sustainability with the way forward for our planet in thoughts,” WIegman mentioned. “The CMTA actually gave me that chance to pursue tasks the place I can use renewable power. We create a mixture of conventional power and renewables, however this provides us a possibility to make a constructive influence for future generations.

Chief School Business Officer David McClure mentioned, “This complete challenge will profit college students and cut back general working prices so we will redirect assets to educating college students. “

GCS and CMTA additionally imagine the challenge has instructional worth. A photo voltaic educating module is hooked up to the doorway of Rupert Elementary.

“The college students at Rupert and Western Greenbrier can come out right here, contact it, see the way it works, and see on the TV display we arrange what it is doing,” Tyler mentioned. “We have completed many shows with college students on the street. That’s why we do that. To educate the youngsters.”

“This is the primary time I’ve completed a educating module on a challenge,” added Wiegman. “The youngsters are pleased! The lecturers too! It’s nice to see them so engaged. They need to study extra about not solely the challenge but in addition our profession paths.

A brand new HVAC unit has been put in on the roof of Western Greenbrier Middle School as a part of an power financial savings program adopted by Greenbrier County Schools. Photo by RealWV.

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