Lake Land College receives GeoAlliance Grant
Lake Land College recently received a $50,000 grant funded by GeoAlliance. The grant will help offset the cost of the highly energy efficient geothermal heating and cooling system that was recently installed in Webb Hall on the college campus in Mattoon.
GeoAlliance is collaboration between the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives (AIEC) in Springfield and Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation in Chicago (ICECF). The program was developed in 2003 to promote the use of highly energy efficient, clean and safe geothermal technology in commercial applications in electric cooperative service territories. ICECF provides the funding for the grants and the AIEC is the program administrator. The funding is passed down from the association to Illinois electric cooperatives that, in turn re-grant the funding to their not-for-profit members.
Lake Land College is in the process of converting all the buildings on its campus from outdated
fossil fuel heating and cooling systems to geothermal heating and cooling technology. This is the second grant that GeoAlliance has awarded to the college, and both grants total $95,000.
Nancy McDonald, marketing administrator at the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives, who presented the grant check to the Board of Trustees at their March meeting, commended the college for its commitment to the environment and to fiscal responsibility.
“At a time when so many colleges are facing financial difficulties, you have made this commitment to total energy efficiency on your campus, and it’s paying off,” said McDonald. “Because of your forward thinking, the college is saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs every year. In addition to the annual savings, geothermal systems provide far greater comfort and consistent temperatures, which affords a much more conducive learning environment for the students.”
Geothermal heat pump systems use the earth’s natural energy and that’s why they are so efficient
and so inexpensive to operate. During cooling months, heat and humidity from inside a building is transferred into the earth through tubing in the ground. In the heating months the process is reversed.
There is no combustion with a geothermal heating system, but a modest amount of electricity is used to operate the circulating pumps, fans, controls, and compressor, which along with the heat exchangers are the major components of the geothermal heat pump. Geothermal heating and cooling systems are considered the most energy efficient available today, saving 30 to 70 percent on energy costs.
“The ICECF appreciates the leadership of AIEC and Lake Land College on this effort,” said Dennis O’Brien, executive director of ICECF. “The college will benefit from improved comfort in its new facility, lower operating and maintenance costs and reduced energy use, leading to less pollution in Illinois communities.”
For more information about the geothermal system grant program, contact your local electric
cooperative or Nancy McDonald at 217-241-7954, or go to www.aiec.coop.
For more information about Lake Land College’s sustainable energy practices, visit www.lakeland.cc.il.us/as/tec/green_jobs/index.cfm.