By Suzanne Gottlieb Calleja….
Palmer Trinity School’s official colors may be blue and gold, but the campus is awash in green thanks to a new energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system in the library, courtesy of a recent Miami-Dade County grant.
Made possible by the Grants To Greens Nonprofit (G2GN) program managed by the county’s Office of Grants Coordination, the installation of the school’s new HVAC system is expected to cut costs through reduced cooling and energy use. Based on the recommendations of free Florida Power & Light (FPL) Business Energy Evaluations, the non-profit organizations selected will receive energy upgrades such as ceiling/attic insulation, lighting, HVAC systems, appliances, window/door treatments or cool roof insulation at no cost.
“During these tough economic times, Miami-Dade County is pleased to be providing energy retrofits to local nonprofits’ facilities at no cost through the G2GN program,” said sustainability director Susanne Torriente. “G2GN is not only helping nonprofits save energy and invest their dollars back into direct services, it’s also creating local green jobs and lowering our greenhouse gas emissions.”
Supported by a $1 million grant from the county’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, G2GN was created in 2009 with the intent to reduce energy consumption at community and faith-based organizations facilities while also creating jobs for local contractors. Through a unique two-year public-private partnership between Miami- Dade, FPL and Homestead Electric Utility Services, G2GN hopes to reduce energy costs by nearly 10 percent for the participating nonprofit organizations, an estimated $136,389 in annual savings. Nearly a dozen local contractors were selected to implement the energy retrofits at the benefitting facilities throughout Miami-Dade.
“There is growing evidence and concern that exponential growth in human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, will change the earth’s climate,” said Dr. Leo Llinas, Palmer Trinity’s sustainability coordinator. “This could ruin some areas for farming, shift water supplies and disrupt economies. The good news is that we have a variety of new technologies for sharply increasing the energy efficiency of our buildings. Thanks to G2GN support, our school will save energy and money by replacing old energy-wasting HVAC systems with new energy-efficient units.”
The Sustainability at Palmer Trinity School program, which connects people across the school with the information, tools and inspiration necessary to make the campus permanently sustainable, encourages students, faculty and staff to constantly seek new ways to help the environment.
By the end of 2011, Palmer Trinity School will contribute to the prevention of 1,765,625 tons of carbon emissions released into the environment. This amount of saved carbon emissions is the equivalent of eliminating the electricity use of 136,387 houses for one year or taking 314,068 passenger vehicles off the road. By the time the work is completed, G2GN will have almost doubled its total energy-savings goal, all at no cost to Palmer Trinity School