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|DRI Works Toward Sustainability with Renewable Energy Projects|
Significant progress has been made on two renewable energy projects that is not only cost effective, but ultimately will contribute to the long-term efforts in sustainability by reducing the amount of electricity the Desert Research Institute needs from the utility grid.
DRI’s Facilities Master Plan states that we “embrace stewardship of campus lands with sustainable practices in design, building, and the day-to-day use of each campus, while also employing efficient energy strategies and renewable energy sources.” DRI is fulfilling its commitment to the principles of the Master Plan by adding two large photovoltaic arrays at the Las Vegas and Reno campuses.
In addressing sustainability, it is clear that laboratory buildings require and consume considerable amounts of electricity due to the need to maintain high ventilation rates, as an example. Although many conservation measures have been implemented over the years at DRI, the level of electricity use from the grid is high. In order to meet the commitment to sustainability outlined in the Master Plan, DRI continues to focus on the installation of renewable energy generation facilities on the campuses to reduce the power bill and the carbon footprint.
One of the projects has just finished construction on the south side of the Computational Research and Visualization Building in Reno. This project, completed by Black Rock Solar, is a new 100kW photovoltaic array. The cost is fully subsidized by NV Energy’s Solar Generations Program. The system is expected to be operational later this summer.
In addition, a significantly larger photovoltaic array is planned for DRI’s Las Vegas campus. By installing new parking structures on the west side of the Rogers Science and Technology Building, a 365 kW photovoltaic array can fit at this campus. This project required approval from the Public Utilities Commission because of its size. The required approvals have been received, and DRI is hopeful to begin construction on this project soon. DRI has partnered with the State Public Works Division for this project and have contracted with Hamilton Solar for the installation. To reduce costs, this project is bundled with several other projects that together will generate 1.15 megawatts of renewable electricity for state facilities. The Las Vegas array is also funded by up to $1.7 million from NV Energy’s Solar Generations Program, and because of program deadlines, work must also be completed by the fall.
As the institution continues to grow its campuses, DRI is committed to sustainability by building the most cost-effective buildings which helps maximize financial resources.
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