American University gets Largest Solar System in D.C
Written By: John Shimkus
American University, renowned for its international relations and political science programs, is installing a massive solar panel array to power the university campus. In line with Washington D.C.’s renewable energy development mandate, which seeks carbon neutrality by 2020, the University will install 2,150 solar pv panels for electricity and water heating.
The solar panel installation will be the largest electrical array of its kind in Washington D.C., and the solar hot water system will be the largest on the U.S. east coast.
The pv panels are set to be installed in July on six of American University’s campus buildings.
174 solar thermal energy panels will be installed on four University buildings in July as well, providing hot water to the student body living on campus as well as to the University dining hall.
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“Not only is solar power the right thing to do, it will also reduce the university’s energy costs the day we flip the switches on the new systems, proving that solar can be clean and green,” says Chris O’Brien, director of sustainability at American University. “We are also working to explore other ways to develop even larger scale renewable energy sources in the Washington region, so stay tuned.”
American University officially announced last spring that the University will seek carbon neutrality by the year 2020. The University is purchasing 100 percent wind power from the grid, reducing energy consumption. In fact, American University’s School of International Service building is LEED gold certified, and efforts are underway to construct an on-campus wind turbine and electricity generator that will run on used cooking oil from the campus dining hall.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.