Immaculata President Donates Funds to Add Solar Panels to University’s Newest Building

solar panels
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Immaculata University is doing its part to care for the Earth and its resources.

With a generous donation from its president, Barbara Lettiere, the Parsons Science Pavilion, currently under construction, will include 28 institutional-grade solar collector panels. The panels will be mounted on a portion of the building’s roof parapet, which will supply much of the electricity needed to operate eight enthalpy wheels. As an integral component of the HVAC system, these wheels will recover and redistribute previously expended energy used in the heating and cooling of the new facility.

In combination, the two systems are estimated to save approximately $17,000 per year in electric and fuel costs; reduce the consumption of propane burned each year by approximately 8,200 gallons; and reduce CO2 emissions by the equivalent of approximately 68,000 pounds of coal not burned by the utility company to produce electricity.

Installation of the solar panels is one of many energy-saving initiatives underway, or being planned, by the university, including replacing light fixtures with LED lights across campus; using geothermal wells to heat and cool buildings; installing occupancy sensors and upgrading HVAC controls to save energy; and upgrading to low-flush toilets and water-saving fixtures. Also, Immaculata continues its extensive recycling program.

Last year, Immaculata launched a zero-cost textbook program using Open Educational Resources (OER). The 10 OER-based courses replaced traditional printed textbooks with a variety of online resources, including online texts from open-source sites, web-based articles, and audio-visual resources in the public domain. The university plans to increase the number of OER-based courses available to students.

Another example of Immaculata’s commitment to the environment is the creation of a campus-wide task force dedicated to caring for the Earth. The group is charged with finding new and creative ways that Immaculata can reduce its environmental footprint.

“The university is making environmental issues a priority because our most precious resource is Earth,” said Lettiere. “The entire campus community is committed to doing our part to care for the environment – including educating our current and future students on ways to contribute to this common goal.”

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