Amarillo College energy conservation plan is underway

(Source: KFDA)
(Source: KFDA)
(Source: KFDA)
(Source: KFDA)

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Amarillo College (AC) has a 10 year energy conservation plan with a goal to save about $3 million.

All AC campuses are now working to become more energy efficient by encouraging students and faculty to practice energy saving behaviors.

Now, they are also making alterations to old buildings and working with utility crews to avoid using too much electricity, gas and water.

"We realized that budgets were tightened and we certainly did not want to raise tuition or raise taxes," said AC Energy Management Coordinator, Terry Hawthorne. "Utilities is a huge part of the college budget, it costs us over $1 million a year and we are trying to be more efficient."

The first step to this conservation plan was rescheduling classes, controlling room temperatures and avoiding the unnecessary use of campus lighting.

Xcel contractors are now partnering with the college to provide engineers to look deeper into each campus building.

"Heating and ventilation will typically use about 50 percent of your energy over the year, it can be really complex and we are here to make sure that the building systems work properly to maintain efficient and comfortable conditions for students and faculty in each campus building," said Green Star Engineer, Jim Watt. "We are also looking for lighting issues and how we can find alternatives to avoid rising costs. Lighting can take up probably another 30 percent of the campus energy in a year."

This engineering crew has been working with AC since Jan. 17 and will study each building on campus not only in Amarillo but in Hereford and Dumas.

Aside from utilities, energy management is also making alterations to old campus buildings.

One of the current projects is the reconstruction of the Ware Student Commons building.

"We've been retrofitting floors in this building, redoing things to get better temperature usage, better utilize our space by adding more classroom space where we don't need as much book storage," Hawthorne said. "We are retrofitting equipment that was in the building since 1967, all to be much more energy efficient and so the building can better reach proper temperatures."

This energy efficiency initiative is expected to be lengthy, as the Amarillo west campus alone has four chilling systems and over 30 boilers.

But AC said, every alteration saves the school money and energy, which is keeping them right on track to achieve that $3 million in 10 years.

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