Western Receives Grants to Support Solar and Thermal Energy Projects in Kelley Hall
Dec. 22, 2008 -- Western State College’s campus sustainability efforts received a boost from the Governor’s Energy Office (GEO), which awarded the College two grants for solar energy projects. This is the first time that WSC has received funding from GEO.
Through the GEO Solar Rebate Program, which is administered by the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (CoSEIA), the grants will support the installation of solar panels for electricity and hot water in the College’s Kelley Hall. The building houses the Behavioral and Social Sciences Department and the Environmental Studies Department.
Originally built in 1957, Kelley Hall reopened its doors in fall 2008 after undergoing a $5.5 million renovation. As part of the reconstruction funding, the College earmarked $50,000 to install solar panels. A portion of the funding came from the student Sustainability Coalition and an academic capital fund. To augment those funds, WSC submitted two grants to the GEO and received $15,000 for solar electric and $7,500 for solar thermal systems. Initially, the College planned to only install the solar electric system with the available funds, but thanks to the grants, they are able to add the solar thermal system to the project. Solar electricity will provide between 5 to 10 percent of building’s electrical requirements and the solar thermal system will be used to heat the boiler, thus reducing gas consumption.
During Kelley Hall’s renovation, the building was pre-wired and pre-piped for the solar electricity and thermal systems. According to Drew Jenkins, associate vice president of finance and administration at WSC, the GEO grants will enable the solar panels to be installed by spring or summer 2009. These will be the first solar panels at WSC.
“We are excited to partner with the Governor’s Energy Office to begin what we hope to be multiple renewable energy and sustainability projects. WSC is committed to being the educational leader of sustainability issues on the Western Slope of Colorado and these solar projects are just the start of our wider commitment to the community, the region and to higher education,” Jenkins said.
Kelley Hall is pending Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification by the US Green Building Council. The building’s renovation followed environmentally sustainable construction standards set by the organization, such as the use of recyclable and reusable materials, and renewable energy resources.
Kelley Hall is among the many campus sustainability efforts put forth by WSC within the past few years. Borick Business Building, which was built in 2007, was the first college building on the Western Slope to garner LEED Silver Certification. WSC has made a commitment for all building renovations and new construction to be at least LEED Gold certified.
WSC also recently joined the Association for Advancement for Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). ASSHE is an association of over 800 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada that are working to promote sustainability in higher education by connecting students, faculty and staff to resources and professional development opportunities.