Renewable Energy on Campus
Agnes Scott is currently pursuing several energy options for buildings and operations on campus.
The college submitted applications to, and was accepted for, Georgia Power’s new initiative that will increase their purchasing of solar energy. The program incentivizes small/medium solar projects by ensuring the purchase of surplus energy generated. The two projects that were accepted from Agnes Scott include solar power systems for the Bullock Science Center and for the Office of Facilities. Currently, the Sustainability Steering Committee (SSC) is in the process of analyzing financial options to complete these projects.
This past year, a student with an ESS minor completed a study of the potential for solar power on campus. This student, Brittany O’Brian, determined several important things to consider.
- Most plausible places for solar equipment
- Bullock Science Center
- Facilities building
- Advantages of solar energy on campus
- A great long-term investment
- More sustainable
- Disadvantages of solar energy on campus
- Relatively slow pay off
- Unstable efficiency
- Life span of panels vs. pay off
In February 2013, a 400 foot well was dug to determine the productivity of the ground under Agnes Scott. The ground was rated as having a thermal conductivity rating of 1.87, meaning the ground is conducive to thermal heating. In order to have a productive system, we would need 80 wells dug on campus, with minimal disturbance to the landscape. Geo-thermal experts have done a preliminary study of our campus, and determined that we have space for 660 potential wells.
The preliminary study also outlined advantages and disadvantages of geothermal energy.
- Advantages of geothermal energy on campus
- Reduces utility consumption (water, natural gas, electricity) by $17,000 annually
- Pays cost back in savings in roughly 14 years, compared to traditional high efficiency water loop systems
- Pays cost back in savings in roughly 9 years, compared to conventional HVAC systems
- Great long-term investment
- Disadvantages of geothermal energy on campus
- Requires more expense for start-up
- Uncertain long-term energy production
Soil samples from test-drilling