College of the Canyons has announced plans to use a $3 million grant from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, or SCAQMD, to improve its energy efficiency on campus.
The college said the money is a big boost toward its goal of complete energy independence.
“Our goal is to be as efficient as possible,” said Jim Schrage, vice president of facilities planning, operations and construction. “The more energy-efficient you are, the less maintenance you have, which helps in the long run for operation of the campus.”
COC received the award after Bloom Energy Corp. proposed the school to the SCAQMD. Bloom, whose main goal is to eliminate nox emissions, saw COC as a great candidate for the award with its mission for energy independence.
COC had to compete for the award against several other businesses and organizations. The award was one of the highest of the $47.4 million to be granted. The money will be used to increase the size of the campus’ fuel cell from 1 megawatt to 1.5 megawatts. This allows the college to eliminate its use of natural gas, which drastically reduces the largest source of nox emission.
Since 2001, COC has been moving toward fuel efficiency, and the campus is now closer than ever to achieving its goal. College officials are also finishing up their lighting efficiency project and switching all outdoor lights to LED.
“That ends the goal,” said Schrage. “We will have done everything that’s financially reasonable.”
The school has finished the design and engineering process for its new and improved fuel cell and is now in the approval stages of the project. Bloom is working on design drawings to give to the college.
“We expect to start work by the end of the year,” said Schrage. College officials expect the project to take four to six months to complete.