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DMACC receives state energy program grant

Des Moines Area Community College has received a $639,494 grant from the Iowa Office of Energy Independence.

The funding for the award was authorized through the Iowa State Energy Program, which is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The nearly $640,000 grant will be used for numerous energy conservation measures across the College and implemented within the next 18 months.

DMACC Physical Plant Director Mark Baethke said DMACC will be installing energy efficient measures such as high efficiency lighting, boilers, chillers, cooling towers, HVAC equipment, digital temperature controls and heat pumps across the college.

“We will also be installing various energy meters in buildings to better monitor energy consumption, verify the effectiveness of the new energy conservation measures and identify areas where further energy reductions could be made,” Baethke said.

He said once these measures are implemented, DMACC will reduce its energy costs by approximately 20 percent and its carbon footprint by about 16 percent.

Prior to submitting the energy grant applications, DMACC partnered with Alliant Energy and Mid-American Energy, which funded detailed energy audits in the DMACC buildings.  Baethke said the results of these audits were used to apply for the grants.

This OEI grant is the fourth and largest energy grant DMACC has received this year. The other grants previously awarded included:

• $44,000 to install 876 room lighting occupancy sensors. DMACC electricians have installed approximately 200 sensors with the remaining sensors to be installed in the next few months.

• $131,500 to construct a 50-kilowatt wind turbine on the Ankeny Campus. This wind turbine will generate electricity for Ankeny Campus buildings and serve as an educational component for the DMACC Wind Turbine Technician program.

• $186,844 for numerous energy conservation measures on the Ankeny Campus. DMACC worked with the City of Ankeny to apply for this grant. These measures will be implemented within the next year.

Baethke said the energy savings from these grants will pay for DMACC’s costs to implement the measures in less than five years. This grant is the latest in DMACC’s “Operation Green” initiative to reduce the college’s environmental impact.

“These grants and other college efforts make DMACC more sustainable, earth friendly and save our students and area citizens money,” DMACC President Rob Denson said. “In addition, these efforts are great learning experiences for all of us.”

DMACC has been working on “green initiatives” since the 1990s. Those efforts include recycling nearly 4,000 cubic yards of paper and cardboard every year, plus fluorescent lamps, waste oil, computers and other products. Geothermal heat also is now being used at the DMACC West Campus and in the newly opened Health Sciences and FFA Buildings on the Ankeny campus.

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