HCC has chosen multiple projects to be implemented through the AEP and TZNE programs. These include many upgrades to the systems within the buildings, window replacements, stairwell insulation, and weather-stripping. All together, HCC will be saving tens of thousands of dollars annually.
- Wind turbines: HCC will be installing about $40,000 worth of wind turbines, creating $835 in annual savings! Wind is a form of clean energy created by differences in air pressure and temperature in the atmosphere. Wind turbines utilize this energy through the spinning of the blades. The blades spin a shaft, which connects to a generator to make electricity. This will be a great learning tool for future students and a visible testament to HCC's commitment to a sustainable campus.
- Phantom Power Reduction: HCC will be implementing systems that reduce the amount of power drawn through electronics when they are not being used. The sum of every electronic device plugged in on campus amounts to one of the most significant energy uses at HCC, and therefore this project alone will save approximately $64,000 annually.
- Lighting Controls: HCC will be adding lighting controls to most lights. Based on 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. operating hours, five days a week, just this small change will save HCC approximately $4,331 annually. Additionally, lights will include daylight sensors and dimming ballasts, allowing the lights to adjust based on how much natural light is already utilized. This will save about $46 per unit.
- Photovoltaic/thermal solar collection: Typically, photovoltaic panels (better known as solar panels) and thermal solar systems are two separate entities. While they both use energy from the sun, solar panels use it to create electricity and thermal solar systems use it to heat water. A common problem with solar panels is that they become less efficient when they get too hot, so this combined system is a perfect match. The photovoltaic solar panels will convert sunlight into electricity while the water will travel through the panels to keep them from overheating. Then the recovered hot water can be used for heating, which will be the main use for this system. Electricity is just an additional bonus. This will save approximately $500 a year.
- Rainwater Harvesting: Students have often worked on ideas for rainwater harvesting, and this is now becoming a reality. Storage tanks will be set up around campus to capture rainwater, which will then be used throughout campus for the landscape as well as in HCC's organic garden. This will save the school about $6,100 a year!
- Greenhouse Upgrades: Many students use HCC's greenhouse to allow a longer planting season and also to be creative with what species of plants can be grown. It is a great space for classes such as botany and sustainable agriculture. After these upgrades, the greenhouse will be divided into two separate spaces, which allows two different temperature set points and improved controls that will prevent simultaneous heating and cooling. The greenhouse structure itself will also be improved. These two projects will save about $1,220 annually.