Work is nearly complete on the second phase of an energy infrastructure and conservation project on the Lees-McRae College campus in Banner Elk. This next step in upgrading energy infrastructure on campus significantly reduces energy usage and cost for the College.
In 2004, ARAMARK Facilities Services completed a comprehensive facilities needs assessment, prioritizing physical plant needs for the College. The study identified the inefficiency of the current energy infrastructure as the number one need.
The first phase of the energy project installed regional boilers in Avery Residence Hall, Tate Residence Hall and the James H. Carson Library. Once installed, the 95% efficient regional boiler plants, which provide steam heat and hot water to the buildings, allowed the buildings to be removed from the central steam plant.
Beginning this past June, phase two involved the installation of a regional boiler plant for the biggest users of the central steam plant, MacDonald Dining Hall, Hayes Auditorium and the Cannon Student Center. This step will take the College very close to its first identified goal - to turn off the central boiler plant in the summer.
The College is currently raising funds for the next phase of the project that will install a water heater in Tennessee Residence Hall, thus enabling the College to shut down the central boiler plant in the summer.
The College secured the services of Moser, Mayer and Phoenix of Greensboro which designed the energy project that will culminate in the decommissioning of the inefficient central boiler plant from the 1960s. Raymond Hunt of EDC of Midlothian, VA, is managing the project. Wilkie Construction of Lenoir, NC, constructed the regional boiler plant in this phase of the project.
The improvement in campus appearance and quality of life for students, faculty and staff from the energy project is significant. Improved climate control, and ultimately the elimination of the old steam plant, will greatly benefit the campus as a whole.
After completion, energy savings for the College could conservatively exceed $250,000 annually.
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