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Saving energy, saving money

by: Adam Hostetter/Sports & Entertainment Editor

northeast

The brand new Northeast building.
Photo by Kaitlyn Conrad

Some may remember the good old days when the Northeast building had its wonderful, dated classrooms and dreary central hallway completely devoid of natural light. This is now a fading memory. The complete renovation of the building this past summer has had many effects on Lake Land’s campus. Recently, Raymond Rieck, the school’s Vice President for Business Services, revealed just what changes the campus has taken and how these relate to students in the long run.

According to Rieck, the complete renovation of the Northeast building cost approximately six million dollars. The building was also connected to the school’s geothermal heating and cooling system as well, reducing energy costs. This adds Northeast to a growing list of campus buildings that have gone through a complete or partial renovation and/or connections to the geothermal system. It will take a few years of saving before the process can start again, but the cosmetology department of the West building and a portion of the Vo-Tech building are next on the list.

Many students have probably pondered how these renovations have affected them. Financially, Rieck estimates that the school is saving “20 to 25 percent of our total cost [of running the campus], or about $300,000 a year, which would relate to about $3 per student credit hour” from the collective renovations and other sustainability efforts.

However, money is not everything. Rieck also adds that student safety and the classroom environment benefit as well. Eighty-five degree classrooms during the summer will be a thing of the past. Northeast’s renovations resulted in eliminating asbestos from the building, new piping and upgrads to the building’s infrastructure and computer systems. Students with disabilities will appreciate the wider doors to classrooms and better placement of handles.

Beyond building improvements, the campus conserves energy and reduces operating costs by using what is available on site, mostly through the geothermal heating and cooling systems. “By far geothermal is our best performer [in energy cost savings],” Rieck points out, explaining that the systems use the constant ground temperature deep below the surface to heat or cool the buildings. A new geothermal well field is planned for construction next summer.


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