By Tom Evelyn
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell University has been awarded a $250,000 Conservation Works! grant to replace the air-handling and monitoring system for the Elaine Langone Center dining facilities. The improvements are expected to create an annual energy savings of $100,000 for Bucknell.
Bucknell's grant was one of 99 statewide Conservation Works! awards totaling $22 million that were announced recently by Gov. Edward Rendell and U.S. Rep. Chris Carney. The competitive grant program is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help local government and nonprofit organizations improve energy efficiency, curb energy consumption and reduce energy costs by at least 25 percent.
Bucknell will use its grant to replace two air-handling units that serve the Bostwick Cafeteria and Bison Café and upgrade those areas to a variable air volume system with occupancy monitoring. The system will save energy by adjusting air flow to the areas based on how many people are in the rooms.
The grant will cover half of the project's cost, allowing the University to pay for it in two and a half years instead of the planned five. The project will likely be completed this summer.
"Federal Recovery money is making it possible for Pennsylvanians to conserve energy to help meet our future energy needs," Gov. Rendell said in announcing the statewide grants.
All Conservation Works! projects must create jobs, be able to start work within six months and be completed prior to May 31, 2011.
The improvements at Bucknell are expected to save about 380,000 kilowatt hours a year from reduced motor loads and electric-based cooling. The University expects a total energy savings of 7.7 million kilowatt hours over the 20-year life of the system. An average home in Pennsylvania uses about 10,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year.
The new equipment also reduces the amount of heating energy required by 4 million cubic feet of natural gas a year, a 66 percent reduction compared with the existing equipment.
"I am thrilled that these projects in our community will benefit through the Recovery Act, helping to conserve energy and create jobs," Rep. Carney said. "These projects will help save more than 30 million kilowatt hours, all the while putting people back to work."
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