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The thrill of going green

Local BOCEDS center hopes to save money with new solar panels

The new parking structure with solar panels outside the  F. Donald Mye.rs Education Center in Saratoga Springs

The new parking structure with solar panels outside the F. Donald Mye.rs Education Center in Saratoga Springs

— In an effort to cut spending and conserve natural resources, the BOCES F. Donald Myers Education Center in Saratoga Springs is “going green.”

In conjunction with a larger upgrade project at both Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES campuses, a new parking structure with solar panels has been installed at the local education center on Henning Road. The panels will provide 50-kilowatts-per-hour of electricity that will be returned back to the grid.

“We’re doing everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint and conserve electricity,” said Director of Facilities Dave Waters.

The upgrades to both facilities began over the summer, with construction of the parking structure nearly finished.

All boilers at each WSWHE BOCES campus have been replaced with more efficient Energy Star models and new chillers are being installed for all air conditioning needs. In addition, nearly all of the lights at the Southern Adirondack Center have been replaced with more efficient bulbs and eventually the thousands of lights at the F. Donald Myers Education Center will be replaced, as well. Censors will also be installed so the lights are not on when rooms are unoccupied.

Waters estimates the upgrades will save the two facilities about $230,000 in a decade, with $8,700 of that money coming from the installed solar panels. The panels were paid for through a grant sponsored by the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority’s Electric Incentive Program called “Power for Schools.”

"We are pleased to be going green in such a visual way," said Tim Place, assistant superintendent of administrative services. "The grants money has enabled us to accomplish energy efficiency in a big way. It not only saves our school districts and tax payers money, but it also is great for the environment. It's a win-win."

The construction portion of the $135,000 solar panel project is now complete, and installation should be finished by the first of the year to help save electricity in the second semester of the school year. Upgrades on both WSWHE BOCES campuses will continue into July.

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