Schools across the nation are investing in green technologies to reduce operational costs and demonstrate the power of renewable energy sources. Franklin County Public Schools in Virginia has recently constructed its Gereau Center for Applied Technology. WSLS Channel 10 reported that the structure was constructed with the latest in modern, energy-efficient technologies. Students can walk into a classroom powered by solar panels and wind turbines, use a restroom that uses rainwater to flush toilets or wash their hands with water cooled and heated with geothermal energy.
Green technologies have been expertly installed throughout the structure, which is being referred to as the Center for Energy Efficient Design. According to the news source, the building is expected to provide students with the ability to learn about the benefits of eco-friendly technologies first hand. Instead of reading about the benefits of harnessing the power of the sun or geothermal technologies, students will be able to see measurable results and collect data right in the classroom.
“They’re immersed in the technology,” said instructor Neil Sigmon, according to the news source. “So it’s much easier for them to get it than if they were learning the concept alone.”
School introduces data-providing website
To increase the educational benefits of the school, the institution has built a website dashboard that allows the public and students to access data about the energy-efficient technologies running on site. WSLS Channel 10 reported that the new website allows anyone to track the energy savings the geothermal technology is providing the school.
A geothermal system like this uses the solar power stored within the earth to control the temperature inside a structure. For larger properties like schools, the savings are considerable. Unlike traditional heating and cooling technologies that require burning oil or natural gas to provide warmth or cool air, a geothermal system transfers the natural warmth stored in the earth inside.
The website that publishes the figures on energy savings is being promoted as an educational tool.
“There are thousands of points of data that come out of this building,” said Dr. Mark Church, Superintendent for Franklin County Public Schools, according to the news source. “And there’s a lot of different things we can do with it.”
Example of the power of geothermal systems
A geothermal system can drastically impact the operational costs associated with running a school. As a result, it is a positive investment for educational facilities. Data from running the structure is available to anyone who wants to see a record of the power of energy-saving technologies. The CEED was built as an educational resource for students and construction experts.