Energy challenge aims to benefit NMCC, students

Posted Oct. 29, 2008, at 7:57 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6:17 a.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A unique program soon to be rolled out by officials at Northern Maine Community College will allow two students a chance to save some money on education expenses by helping the college cut back on energy expenditures.

In the coming weeks, the Presque Isle college will launch its “Go! Green!” initiative, a challenge requiring students to work in teams to develop solutions for energy efficiency. The contest is geared toward saving money for NMCC while also benefiting students. Two students at the campus will win the equivalent of two full-time student tuition waivers for a semester if they come up with the winning proposal.

“We wanted to get students more engaged in energy efficiency, and we thought this was a great way to do it,” Charles Kelley, electrical construction and maintenance instructor, said Wednesday. “We are looking to do it within the next few weeks.”

The initiative was developed after an energy task force made up of faculty and staff was formed last spring to address both short- and long-term energy needs on the campus. Such needs included reducing electricity costs and heating oil consumption.

The task force developed the student energy challenge this fall.

Kelley, who was a member of the group, said students will form teams and craft written and oral proposals that will go before a panel of judges made up of campus and community members.

“We are looking for proposals for an energy conservation measure that will result in a financial savings and awareness-building without sacrificing productivity, comfort or the well-being of students and staff. Projects should also have a positive effect on campus facilities,” said Kelley. “Examples of areas that we anticipate projects will cover include weatherization, facility improvements, electrical energy reduction, procedural changes, and energy awareness campaigns.”

The contest will be formally launched on campus next month, and students will have until February to develop their plans.

Proposals will be judged on cost effectiveness, creativity and originality, sustainability, written presentation and visual presentation.

The college already has implemented a number of awareness and efficiency initiatives since the start of the academic year.

Students have received campuswide correspondence on the importance of conserving electricity and measures such as closing doors that separate corridors to better control heating systems.

Kelley said his students also recycle wire that is used in construction classes.

School officials said the college also is in the process of undergoing a detailed energy audit that will provide data to assist NMCC in laying out plans for the possible use of alternative energy sources, including biomass, wind power, solar and geothermal.

Kelley said he believes that once students hear more about the contest they will “grab hold and run with it.”

“I am really excited about this,” he said. “We have a great group of students here who I know will see this as an exciting challenge.”

jlbdn@ainop.com

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