Columbia Basin College to Save More Than $224,000 in Annual Energy Costs with Schneider Electric

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The $9.5 million energy initiative includes new solar array to drive additional energy savings, sustainability and improved operations

Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management, today announced the shipment of Washington-manufactured photovoltaic panels to Columbia Basin College for immediate installation. This key milestone marks the third phase of Schneider Electric’s ongoing partnership with the college to deliver continued energy efficiency upgrades and cost savings.

Using a $765,188 grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce, Schneider Electric is installing a 100-kilowatt photovoltaic solar array on the roof of Columbia Basin College’s Business Building, which will contribute to the institution’s annual energy and operational cost savings of more than $224,000 annually. Additionally, the college is expected to receive utility rebates in excess of $185,000 from the completion of the three-phased project.

“We are committed to being smart about our energy use, reducing our carbon footprint and demonstrating discretion in the use of our budget. Our ongoing partnership with Schneider Electric provides the integrated services and support we need to excel in these areas,” said Bill Saraceno, Senior Vice President of Administration Services, Columbia Basin College. “This project is a continuation of the strategic maintenance of our facilities and will allow our college to operate more efficiently while reinvesting budget back into programs that will benefit our students.”

"Our mission is to help educational leaders achieve their energy savings and sustainability goals while also providing more comfortable and efficient environments for their students and staff,” said David Palmer, Energy & Sustainability Services Program Manager, Schneider Electric. "We are proud to help Columbia Basin College reduce its energy costs by 26 percent and provide valuable ongoing insight into their buildings’ performance.”

In March 2014, the Washington State Department of Commerce awarded 45 public entities $14 million in grant funds, helping to leverage an additional $35 million in non-state funds for energy saving and solar projects. The immediate goal of the Energy Efficiency and Solar Grants program is to help stimulate Washington’s economy by creating jobs. Longer-term goals include reducing energy costs at the state’s public higher education institutions, local government facilities and state agencies.

Columbia Basin College’s three-phased, $9.5 million initiative spans over 20 facilities and incorporates a variety of energy efficiency upgrades to enhance classroom and building comfort, while reducing energy consumption through:

  • Lighting retrofits and occupancy controls
  • Intelligent building automation system
  • Animated sign replacement
  • Photovoltaic solar array installation and integration with energy metering system
  • HVAC replacements and upgrades
  • Heating system decentralization
  • Chiller plant optimization
  • Campus-wide energy metering system and monitoring-based commissioning
  • Underground piping replacement

In addition to energy cost savings, the project will generate environmental savings equivalent to planting 360,801 trees, removing 1,836 cars from the road or powering 1,164 houses. The project implementation plan, project details, infrastructure enhancements and expected outcomes will be shared with the Columbia Basin College community through the Schneider Electric website – College leaders are proud to showcase this exciting initiative to students, staff, administration and the community to provide greater visibility on the improvements underway and positive environmental impact.


About Schneider Electric
As a global specialist in energy management and automation with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in Non-residential & Residential Buildings, Industries & Machines Manufacturers, Utilities & Infrastructure and Data Centers & Networks. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green, the company's 170,000 employees achieved revenues of 30 billion US dollars in 2014, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations make the most of their energy.

About Columbia Basin College
Columbia Basin College is a comprehensive two-year college that provides quality education and effective job preparation. Columbia Basin College upholds an environment of diversity, fairness, equity, and sustainability, providing opportunities for the people of Benton and Franklin counties to succeed in their pursuit of higher educational achievement, meaningful employment, and basic skills development, while promoting cultural enrichment and well-being for its community.

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Kathy Kim
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