The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

September 20, 2012

New green energy technology center opened Wednesday at Calhoun Community College

The new Alabama Center for Excellence in Green Energy Technology was officially opened Wednesday on Calhoun’s Limestone County campus. The 11,000 square-foot ACECET building becomes home to Calhoun’s Renewable Energy associate’s degree program. 

According to ACECET Interim Director Jerry Adams, there are 70 credit students enrolled in the program this semester. Additionally, a variety of green technology and renewable energy non-credit and continuing education courses targeting contractors, employees and the general public will be offered in the building.

Funded in part through a $3.47M, U.S. Department of Labor grant, the goal of the ACECET is to meet regional needs for energy certified practitioners in the areas of energy assessment and energy efficient installation. 

“Calhoun’s award was one of only 55 made from over 1400 proposals submitted nationwide and was the only award made in the state Alabama, “commented President Beck.

“The ACECET project is the first of its kind in the state of Alabama leading to an industry-recognized certification, the first accredited training center for renewable energy technology in Alabama, and will serve as a national model for community and technical colleges and workforce training providers,” Adams said.

State-of-the-art building

The LEED-certified building includes a number of unique features.  LEED certification is a national measurement of building sustainability which measures energy efficiency of building products (recycled & sustainable).  The building’s unique features include the following:

• 93 percent of the materials removed from the building  were recycled and did not go into a landfill;

• The building’s design reduces power usage by 51 percent compared to similar sized buildings;

• The building boasts the most extensive geo-thermal array in the Southeast (both vertical and horizontal wells);

• Rain water recycling from the building roof provides all “gray water” (non-potable water) usage for the building  -- 1” of rain = 6000 gallons of water;

• Extensive utilization of LED lighting throughout the building, resulting in high-efficiency lighting;

• A 20KV solar array provides 80 percent of the building’s total power requirements; tied into the TVA grid;

• The parking lot lighting is “off the grid” and is totally self-generating;

• Solar panels provide all of the building’s hot water needs; and

• Limited use of VOC in carpets and paint, resulting in a healthier interior environment.

For more information, on Calhoun’s Renewable Energy program or the ACECET building, call 256-306-2642.


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