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Champlain College building goes green - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Champlain College building goes green

Burlington, Vermont - July 23, 2010

Perry Hall Student Welcome Center is opening its doors, but this South Willard Street building is different than most on the Champlain College campus.

"It's extremely efficient," said Stephen Mease of Champlain College. "It's sort of a jewel on the campus here."

The main goal when renovating the 1859 home into an office building was to be Platinum LEED certified.

"It's important for the college to be environmentally conscious. It's something that we need to do. It saves us money in the long run. It's the right thing to do for the community and it's also something our students are looking for," Mease explained.

Mease took WCAX News for a tour of the completely renovated Perry Hall to show us exactly what they were doing to earn this certification. One of the main ways is by a geothermal heating and cooling system. The system will take water from the ground which will be kept around 50 degrees, heating or cooling it depending on the season, to produce a comfortable temperature year-round.

"It's bringing in this cool water and the water runs through the system here and used to cool or heat and put back into the aquifer," Mease said.

What you can't see here at Perry Hall is 1,800 feet down. It's the well which will be heating and cooling the entire facility.

The building cost $12 million to renovate, with a portion of that going to the geothermal heating and cooling system. Mease thinks they should be reaping the advantages very shortly.

"I think we'll be seeing the benefit within the first year," Mease said. "Our heating costs are dramatically lower when this kind of system is used."

It doesn't just stop there; the college is also using an energy-efficient lighting system and has a stormwater retention pond.

"The stormwater retention here is to keep water from just coming off the paved areas, roofs or parking lots and just running into the lake," Mease said.

Champlain College is very excited about the opening of Perry Hall Student Welcome Center and about the impact it will have on the environment and the community.

"Lessening the footprint, saving money, and that's good for everybody," Mease said.

Gina Bullard - WCAX News

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