Napa Valley College Goes Green, Chills with Hybrid Cooling

Napa Valley College said it has installed six Ice Bear hybrid cooling systems from Ice Energy in its Child Development Center. The new cooling systems are expected to reduce the daytime power consumption of the facility and lower greenhouse gas emissions while improving indoor comfort for the children and staff learning and teaching there.

"As a public education institution, we believe it is important to make campus improvements that both lower costs and promote sustainability in our community," said Dan TerAvest, director of campus planning. "California's colleges spend undue amounts of money to keep classrooms cool and comfortable. Napa Valley found a way to lower the cost of cooling and reduce our carbon footprint without compromising comfort."

The Ice Bear system uses an efficient, sustainable ice-storage technology that shifts 95 percent of the on-peak electricity used for cooling to evening hours, when electricity from the power grid is cleaner, more efficient, and less expensive to produce.

In June 2006 the school installed a 1.2-megawatt solar system that supplies 40 percent of its daytime power. The combination of this solar system and the Ice Bear systems reduces the school's peak power consumption by about 1.5-megawatts, enough to power a thousand homes in the United States.

The Ice Bear systems will generate about $5,100 in annual savings at current utility rates and insulate the school against potential price increases. The college also received a rebate from Pacific Gas & Electric, which offers rebates for technologies that reduce peak demand from commercial facilities and institutional buildings.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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