Solar Panels on Roof of Classroom Building Generate Renewable Energy

Solar panels

Solar panels similar to these will be installed on the roof of UNC's McKee Hall to generate a portion of the building's energy needs.

In recognition of its ongoing commitment to conservation, the University of Northern Colorado has received a $10,000 grant from the Governor's Energy Office to help pay for a $100,000 project that will use solar panels atop McKee Hall to generate a portion of the building's energy needs.

It's expected the pilot project - the first time solar panels have been installed on a campus building - will pay for itself through the use of renewable energy. Remaining funding for the project will come from annual utility savings from previous conservation measures, such as installation of energy efficient lighting and equipment at Michener Library.

Crews will begin installing 70 feet of solar panels on McKee Hall's roof beginning next week. It's expected the panels will be operational by the end of November. While the panels won't supply all of McKee's energy needs, their contribution will be significant: They're capable of supplying 9.6 kWh, or enough power to meet the monthly demands of an average U.S. household.

"UNC is dedicated to energy conservation," said Dave Nalley, UNC manager of utility systems/resource conservation. "We're actively pursuing ways to implement conservation measures including renewable energy as fast as possible when they become available."

The university was named one of four recipients of the city of Greeley's first Environmental Stewardship Awards, which recognize individuals and businesses for outstanding efforts and strategies for protecting the environment.

Examples of Other UNC Conservation Measures

' Since 2001, UNC has increased its recycling of paper, cardboard and other items from 103,000 pounds annually to more than 521,000 pounds.

- The campus has cut its natural gas and electricity consumption by more than 15 percent since 2002 through the use of energy-efficient equipment and energy-conservation practices.

- More than 2,000 faucets and shower heads on campus have been refitted with low-flow fixtures.

- Building automation systems allow adjustments to be made remotely to lighting, some using motion sensing, and to thermostats for optimal efficiency.


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