Concerns about oil independence and meeting future energy needs are being addressed by researching new generating methods, but another part of the energy puzzle is using our energy as efficiently as possible. When United Power constructed its new headquarters facility in 2006, energy efficiency was a top priority.
United Power’s new state-of-the-art, all-electric facility was designed to accommodate space needs for many years to come, and features lighting, heating and cooling, and water heating technologies to reduce overall energy use.
Here is an overview of the energy efficient features of our 500 Cooperative Way facility:
Geothermal Heating & Cooling
Geothermal heating and cooling systems take advantage of the earth’s relatively constant temperature and, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, are the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective space conditioning systems available. The system at 500 Cooperative Way works by circulating heated water through 80 ground loops and 35 heat pumps to efficiently keep over 40,000 sq. ft. of office space at a comfortable temperature year-round.
Because digging ground loops is an intensive process, geothermal heat pump systems are recommended mainly in new construction. However, homeowners can take advantage of a similar technology, the air-source heat pump, which installs easily and uses a home’s existing duct work. The heat pump is a year-round appliance that can heat and cool your home.
When you see United Power’s new building, you’ll see it in a whole different light. In the warehouse and shops, 35 solar tubes bring in natural daylight. Occupancy sensors throughout the building turn off lights when areas such as conference rooms and restrooms are unoccupied. Under the clearstory of windows on the second floor, automatic dimmable lighting detects light needs and conserves electricity when the sun can do the job. Lighting conservation and the use of more efficient bulbs, like compact fluorescents, are easy steps that members can take to reduce energy use in their own homes.
Under the sinks in break rooms and restrooms at 500 Cooperative Way, small electric water heaters were installed instead of larger water heaters which are usually located farther from faucets. These small heaters eliminated the need for recirculation pumps and saved several hundred feet of copper piping from ever being installed.
By installing efficient electric water heaters, United Power’s members can take advantage of rebates from the electric co-op-and benefit from additional energy savings in their homes.
To learn more about how your home can be more energy efficient, visit our Energy Savings page.