LC commits to energy upgrades

Thursday December 17 2009


Lynchburg College will spend $4.65 million in energy improvements over the next several years, which should result in a reduction of $583,000 in annual energy costs, or about a third of the College's utility bills. Because the cost of utilities will increase, by year nine the College could be saving $903,000 per year.

LC is also pleased to announce support from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund in the amount of $70,000 to install energy usage meters in 12 campus dormitories during the summer of 2010. These dormitories house a total of 1,320 students, representing 60 percent of the undergraduate student body.

About a year ago, LC hired Ameresco, an energy services company, to do a campus-wide audit to determine how the College could best reduce its energy consumption. The work is in keeping with President Kenneth Garren's signing of the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment.

The LC Board of Trustees agreed to move forward with the project, which includes lighting upgrades, water conservation initiatives, significant changes to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, the installation of a photovoltaic array for partial energy usage for one building, a series of controls upgrades on various equipment, installation of new boilers, and enhancement of individual room temperature controls.

These proposed infrastructure plans will result in a reduction of utility and operating costs in the amount of $575,000 per year. The costs of the upgrades will be recouped in about eight years.

Ameresco estimates the project will reduce carbon dioxide output in the amount of 5,348 metric tons per year - equal to planting 1,215 acres of trees per year; saving 607,000 gallons of gasoline; or powering 741 homes annually.

The dormitory metering project will include graphic information that will be accessible on the campus website and also in a campus kiosk for review by students, faculty, and staff. The data will provide history of energy usage, current usage, total consumption for the building, and a way to monitor changes related to specific energy-saving initiatives within these buildings.

The sub-metering project data could potentially be used:

• For a modeling project in selected calculus courses;

• In laboratory research for introductory earth and environmental science courses in which students examine their ecological footprint;

• As a resource in introductory earth science and environmental science lectures covering energy usage and conservation;

• As a resource in an upper-level courses in environmental law and policy to discuss how policies can be designed to influence energy usage; and

• By faculty across multiple disciplines in courses discussing environmental issues.

For more information, contact Shannon Brennan, director of media relations, at 434.544.8609.