NEWS & EVENTS
Dordt College News
Dordt College receives energy-efficiency award
January 6, 2014
Dordt College was awarded a customer recognition award for leadership in energy efficiency by Sioux Center Municipal Utilities and Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities. Dordt received one of only eight awards given in the state of Iowa.
Nominated by Adam Fedders, Sioux Center code enforcement director, the college earned the award for finding ways to keep utility costs low. By researching energy options and searching for rebates, Dordt’s utility costs over the past 15 years have remained relatively neutral even though new buildings have been added.“
We’ve been updating lighting in several buildings for about 15 years already,” said Brian Mellema, Dordt College’s master electrician and chief boiler operator. “Doing so can be a long and costly process, so we’re always searching for rebates to help make the process more economical. In the last five years we’ve retrofitted more than 2,000 ballasts.”
Dordt College continues to retrofit older structures, updating them to today’s energy standards. While the process can be costly, installing new appliances and implementing new technologies will ultimately save money and lower energy usage.
Examples include the following:
- Updating light fixtures. Future updates to LED lights may save the college between 40 and 80 percent, depending on the style of fixture. Using motion sensors that turn lights off when the natural light is strong enough should also extend the lifetime of the lamps.
- Regulating heating and cooling and avoiding running during “peak” times. “We’re charged more during peak times. If we can shave that peak, even for just a few minutes, we can find big savings,” said Dordt College Director of Physical Plant Stan Oordt. “About half the charge on a bill can be from those few peak minutes.”
- Incorporating state-of-the-art technology. Kuyper Apartments, the classroom building addition, and the science building have been engineered by EDA Inc. to use energy and cost efficient technology.
- Running water sprinklers overnight. Less evaporation occurs when it is cooler. Rain sensors keep them from running unnecessarily.
- Installing a new boiler. The college received a rebate and will save energy.
These efforts are also benefitting Sioux Center residents. “When gas is being overused in Sioux Center, they call us and we switch our power source to our diesel tanks,” said Oordt. By having Dordt and other big energy users in the city switch to alternative energy sources, the city is able to maintain its peak level of gas usage and avoid the costly penalties that come with going over the contracted levels.
Oordt credits earning the award to the work of Dordt’s energy management team saying, “The Lord has blessed us with a team of individuals who are skilled and passionate about their work.” Dordt’s energy management team consists of Mellema, Oordt, Paul Kroeze, and Doug Vanden Hull.