Self-Sustaining College Campus

By Marie Casey and Christy Redmond, Casey Communications | September 28, 2010

Lake Land College in Mattoon, IL, is one step closer to becoming Illinois' first self-sustaining college campus, thanks to turnkey engineering and construction services by Control Technology & Solutions (CTS) of St. Louis. CTS recently completed Phase 1 of a four-phase, $20-million plan that taps the earth, wind and sun to achieve the college's carbon-reduction vision. At completion in 2012, CTS' work is projected to save about 850,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity – for a carbon reduction of 556 metric tons annually – and save nearly 70,000 therms of natural gas each year.

Phase 1, totaling $4.7 million, included installation of a 12-inch-diameter heat pump diversification loop, running 3,000 feet around the circle-shaped campus, and installation of the first of three geothermal well fields – 140 wells reaching 350 feet deep. The closed loop geothermal heat pump system works by piping water deep into the earth via wells that capture the earth's heat in winter and dissipate heat in summer. Future phases will expand the number of geothermal wells, upgrade all campus buildings and connect them to the geothermal loop.

“The geothermal system alone will cut energy demand by more than 42,000 therms of natural gas, or 40 percent, and reduce electricity use by at least 580,000 kWh each year,” says Jay Hesskamp, CTS project manager. “It will also bring cooling to classrooms originally built without air conditioning. A better learning environment for the students means Lake Land College is better fulfilling its mission.”

CTS also installed 10 solar panels atop the Field House to power its domestic water heating system. Other renovations to the Field House and Vo-Tech buildings include replacing all original lighting with new T8 fluorescent lighting, adding motion sensors, abating sprayed-on asbestos in 12 classrooms and hallways, installing new acoustical ceilings in classrooms, painting the gym ceiling, and replacing carpet and tile.

A 100-kilowatt wind turbine design completes Phase 1. The future turbine will be adjacent to the West Building and operate at wind speeds averaging 12.5 to 14.5 mph that are typical to Mattoon.

Founded in 1966, Lake Land College is a public community college serving 7,400 students and a district of 15 counties in east central Illinois.

“We are proud to be well on our way to becoming the first self-sustaining college campus in Illinois,” says Raymond E. Rieck, vice president for business services at Lake Land College. “It is our hope that this model will motivate our students who are preparing to become the future workforce for the green industry in the state.”

Phase 2, totaling nearly $2.3 million, will commence in May 2009 and includes expansion of the geothermal heat pump system, installation of the first wind turbine, and the addition of solar panels atop Webb Hall, which also will receive energy-efficient lighting upgrades, asbestos abatement, and new ceilings and flooring.