Donated Solar Panels to Heat College’s Pool
Lyndon State College has received a gift of 72 solar panels and associated heat pump equipment from Sticks and Stuff, the hardware and home supply store that recently purchased the Indoor Recreation of Orleans County (IROC) facility in Derby, Vermont. LSC plans to use the donated panels to heat the 25 meter swimming pool on campus. The panels will be mounted on the Rita Bole Gymnasium roof – - adjacent to the pool building – - sometime early next summer.
The cost to purchase new solar powered pool heating equipment would be in the range of $100,000. According to Tom Archer, the director of LSC’s physical plant, “the cost to add additional support to the roof structure will be about $40,000. The cost to remove the panels from the IROC facility, transport and install the panels and associated equipment at LSC will be approximately another $45,000.” Lyndon annually uses approximately 8,000 gallons of fuel to heat the pool; annual cost savings would be nearly $11,400. The 2-year-old panels have a projected life of 20 to 25 years, measure 7’ by 4’, and weigh about 104 pounds when empty.
LSC President Joe Bertolino said “We are very excited to receive the donation of this solar hot water system and are deeply grateful to Jerry Belisle, Kris Bullock, and Jeff Lamphere at Sticks and Stuff for making this happen.”
In addition to saving money on energy consumption, the green technology is of interest academically, especially for students in the college’s Sustainability Studies degree program. Ben Luce, assistant professor of natural science and physics notes, “We have been interested for years in the possibility of heating our athletic complex with solar hot water. This system is ideal. We plan to involve our students closely in both the installation and performance analysis of this system, which we anticipate will strongly advance our goals of making Lyndon State a leader in energy efficiency and renewable energy implementation and education.”