Sanborn Voice Article: December 2011

This article will appear in the December edition of the Sanborn Voice student newspaper:

This month, Revolution Energy has begun the installation process for our solar panel heating system. By the end of December, if all goes according to plan, Sanborn Regional High School will be one of the first in the WORLD to use this new technology to help reduce the heating costs of our school. We expect the heat generated from these panels will save our school district nearly $17,000.00 per year in heating costs, reduce our dependence on oil by about 13,500 gallons per year, and reduce our CO2 emissions by about 48 tons annually.

How did Sanborn become a candidate for such a cool project? Since our building was completed in 2006, our School District has been looking for a way to help us “go green” and make use of an alternative energy sources. The district investigated erecting windmills that could collect and use wind-power, but as it turns out we don’t generate quite enough wind in this area for such a system to be productive. The district discussed the option of installing solar panels in a field or on our roof to collect power, but the installation of such a system would be costly.

The solar heating project is being installed at no cost to the taxpayers. This is because a few years back, when the project was in the design stage, the district applied for a grant from the federal government to cover the installation costs for the solar heating system. Since this was relatively new technology and we had the right conditions at our school to make the system work, we received the grant, and the planning began.

You may be wondering how the system is going to work. Solar panel “siding” is going to be installed on parts of the building that face Route 111, where we have most of our direct sunlight. These panels will collect solar energy which will be tied directly into our heating and cooling system. The energy will be used to generate heat four our building. While we won’t be able to completely rely on solar heating for our 220,000 square foot building, the system will significantly reduce the amount of oil that we need to burn to provide the heat we need. In the gyms, long specialized ducts will be installed to disperse heat into these spaces, which may be 100% heated with solar energy.

It is exciting to see our school district taking a significant step towards “going green.” Perhaps this movement will inspire you to think about the ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint on our world.

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