The Sweet Green Project

Posted by on Jun 20, 2017 in Energy Conservation Series, Indian Creek, Posts, Yough River | 0 comments

Last summer an energy audit was performed on the office building by Envinity, a company from State College that offers design, building, and energy services to create money saving, energy efficient homes and work places. With this recent energy audit performed and recommendations given, MWA took greater strides into greening our office. This project was funded by a grant from West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund (WPPSEF). When the audit was finished we were provided with information on how we could improve the energy and cost efficiency of the building while providing a more comfortable environment for our staff. We were offered five improvement opportunities that would assist in accomplishing our goals. The recommended changes were to install a 10-KW Solar Photovoltaic Array (solar panels), a Ductless Mini Split Heat Pump, ENERGY STAR Windows, LED lighting upgrades, and additional attic insulation & air sealing. These recommendations are all things that we would eventually like to see in our office, we first had to determine what we could accomplish within our current budget. With a grant provided by WPPSEF and the Richard King Mellon Foundation, we were able to accomplish 3 of the 5 recommendations.

The first task that we accomplished was to upgrade to LED lighting. The ceiling lights as well as the porch lights were switched to LED bulbs. Just this simple change is projected to save nearly $116 per year.

Additional attic insulation and air sealing was another recommended change that was made. This was done to minimize the loss of heating/cooling within the building. The audit stated that amount of insulation in the attic was, “slightly under the recommended amounts,” and by increasing the insulation amounts to the suggested value it would save an estimated $101 per year. Furthermore, there were a few air sealing opportunities that were taken to minimize the exchange of air through cracks to the exterior of the building.

The final recommendation that was fulfilled was the installation of the Ductless Mini Split Heat Pumps. Each room of the building received its own unit able to control temperature independently. The mini split heat pumps were retrofitted onto the building as they did not need a duct system to operate. Without a duct system, they operate more efficiently and avoid the energy losses associated with duct work. This system was recommended due to the fact each staff member can personalize his or her room temperature all while still being energy efficient. The office is now more comfortable and quiet.

With these changes in place, MWA can lower its energy costs and use resources more economically. Our next goal is to raise enough funds to install the solar panels on the building’s rooftop so that we can become more self-efficient in our energy needs. We also sincerely hope that others will follow in our footsteps and do their part in saving our precious resources.

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