Wartburg College is going green - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Wartburg College is going green

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WAVERLY (KWWL) -- Wartburg College will start work In January on a $2 million energy-efficiency program designed to save the school more than $260,000 annually.

The program involves retrofitting lighting and water fixtures, improving heating and cooling controls and installing a new boiler serving Luther Hall and Neumann Auditorium. It is the result of an energy audit performed last spring by Schneider Electric, an Illinois-based consulting firm.

Earlier this year Wartburg received a $666,000 grant from the state Office of Energy Independence - from a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy - to offset a third of the cost.

According to Gary Grace, Vice President for Administration, the college expects to fund the remainder of the projects through energy cost-savings in the budget.

"We'll have savings of $260,000 annually, so the payback certainly will occur in less than 10 years, which is a very good thing," Grace said. "When it's completed, it will mean that we'll have increased resources in our general budget."

The project includes:

- Retrofitting or replacing 4,000 light fixtures in nine buildings that don't already have newer, more efficient fluorescent lights.

- Replacing the steam boiler used in Luther Hall and Neumann Auditorium with one that is 93 percent energy efficient. The current boiler, installed in 1955, is 65 percent efficient. A second hot-water boiler will be installed for the adjoining Classroom Technology Center.

- Installing control units for heating and cooling that will be coordinated with Waverly Light and Power's rate structure to provide savings. There will be five-to-seven minute lags," said John Wuertz, director of the physical plant. "We pay a premium if they all come on at the same time. People in the buildings won't detect a change. It won't affect user comfort."

- Saving "significant amounts of water in administrative, academic and residence halls," according to Grace, "with low-flush toilets and lower-flow sink and shower features, where appropriate." Newer buildings and some residence halls - the Clinton and Centennial complexes - have already been retrofitted with low-flow fixtures.

- Implementing a "heat recovery system" in the Wartburg-Waverly Sports & Wellness Center. When the building requires cooling, the excess heat will be "pulled to heat domestic hot water, such as the showers," Wuertz said.

- Installing a carbon dioxide sensor in the Wartburg Chapel and Vogel Library to sense how many people are in the buildings. "If there's low demand for fresh air, it will turn down the demand," Wuertz said.

Grace said the project is "screwdriver ready."

"We anticipate starting in January and doing work around the college through 2012 without being disruptive," he said. "Some of the work will be done in the evening, some of it during student breaks, depending on the particular project."

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