Thursday, December 17, 2009

ACE Endorses Geothermal at New Wakefield

Big news in the debate about geothermal power at the new Wakefield High School. The Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment board has endorsed the plan:
Dear Ms. Baird:

On behalf of the board of directors of Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE), we’re pleased to offer support for the School Board’s plan to adopt geothermal energy, solar hot water, and photovoltaic generation for energy at Wakefield High School. Your commitment to adopting a framework to evaluate school construction projects in both financial costs as well as environmental and educational value is commendable.

We specifically support your inclusion of these alternative energy features at Wakefield to:

* Reduce carbon emissions and pollution.
* Provide a world-class learning opportunity for students.
* Reduce dependence on fluctuating global energy markets.

With Arlington’s history as a community committed to sustainability, the integration of alternative energy features is the right decision for our students. Thank you for your continued leadership in providing outstanding learning environments and minimizing the footprint of our schools.

Elenor Hodges
Executive Director
The School Board will vote on the environmental options tonight (Thursday 12/17) at 7:30pm. If you can spare the time, please attend tonight's meeting (Education Center, 1426 North Quincy Street) and speak up in favor of the clean energy options. If you can't attend in person, please email the Arlington County School Board to tell them you're willing to put your money where your mouth is by investing our tax dollars in a sustainable future for our children.

UPDATE 3:13pm: The APS Advisory Council on Facilities & Capital Programs has also endorsed the clean energy options (including geothermal power):
Recommendation on Wakefield High School Environmental Alternatives
December 16, 2009

The Advisory Council on Facilities and Capital Programs (FAC) supports the inclusion of the recommended environmental alternatives for the design of Wakefield High School. These include a geothermal heating and cooling system, a solar hot water system, and photovoltaic generation of electricity sufficient to meet 2.5% of the building’s total energy needs. It is our belief that the inclusion of these items will allow Wakefield to control its long term energy costs as much as possible and to operate in an environmentally sensitive, efficient manner. Although there is an up front cost associated with all of these alternatives, when one evaluates the alternatives using a life cycle analysis, it is clear that over the life of the investment, the costs are minimal and the benefits are positive. Overall, the projected additional upfront costs represent less than 1% of the projected cost of the new building. Most importantly, APS needs to be sure that it implements LEED Enhanced Commissioning. The intent of this would be to begin the commissioning process early and allow time to execute verification and training activities after the systems’ performance verification is completed. Finally, these systems should be fully integrated into the overall design of the building.
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