The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TR rewarded for energy efficiency

By Joshua Knopp/managing editor

Oncor’s Educational Facilities Program, which rewards energy-efficient schools, has granted TCC a $10,400 incentive for the air conditioning system on TR East Campus.

The program, which is part of Oncor Electric’s “Take a Load Off, Texas” initiative, has been active since 2004-05 and helps more than 100 schools with an amount of money that varies from year to year, but this year is about $4 million, said program manager Kristy Tyra.

Its concept is to reward schools that either retrofit more efficient equipment or, in TCC’s case, build in systems that are more efficient than baseline requirements by offsetting the upfront costs of efficient equipment, which is typically more expensive than the baseline.

“What they did makes good sense for the school in the long run because they’ll pay less in energy costs,” Tyra said. “We gave them an incentive to help offset the upfront costs.”

Oncor offers similar programs for a wide variety of other types of facilities.

The air conditioning system is a variable-capacity staged cooling system, said infrastructure and systems engineer David Hoelke. 

Most air conditioners have only one capacity and as such are either operating at maximum capacity or turned off. The capacity of TREC’s air conditioning system, on the other hand, varies from 40 to 200 tons.

The system is always on and always measuring how much the temperature needs to change. This minimizes the energy needed to correct the temperature across the campus.

According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calculations, the system will save 44,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

“It senses the load, and it changes the capacity based on the load,” Hoelke said. “The others [campuses] are gradually being converted to be as efficient. A job is never complete if you have as much square feet as we do.”

Vice chancellor of communications and external affairs Reginald Gates said working with Oncor is important to TCC’s environmental efforts.

“The partnership obviously means a lot to us as we try to do our part to become more green,” he said.

Gates said that while he doesn’t know how the money will be spent, it will probably make TCC more environmentally friendly.

“The thought is to reinvest it into being green in some way,” he said. “From an educational standpoint, that may be new course listings for our students in green technology. It isn’t finalized, but that’s the discussion.”

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