Bowdoin Begins Construction on Phase Two of Thorne Hall Solar Hot Water Project

Story posted January 07, 2011

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Bowdoin has been awarded a $50,000 grant that will effectively double the size of the existing 960-square foot solar hot water system atop Thorne Hall.

Installation of the new solar panels begins this month.

The grant, from the Efficiency Maine Trust and funded through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), provides for additional solar panels that will aid in preheating the domestic hot water used in the College's largest dining hall.

The initial solar thermal array was installed in June 2010 and made possible by another $50,000 ARRA grant, this one through the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

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Thorne Hall, which serves 360,000 meals per year, is one of the largest users of water on campus, using an estimated 1.75 million gallons annually, according to Mary Lou Kennedy, Bowdoin's Director of Dining and Bookstore Services.

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The College's project consultant, ReVision Energy, estimates that installation of the additional solar panels will result in an added savings of 45,760 pounds of CO2 per year by offsetting natural gas use in the campus and seasonal boilers.

Following installation, the College estimates that approximately
50 percent of the hot water used in the dining hall will be heated by the solar panels.

Work is expected to be complete by spring.

The project is the latest in a number of important components of Bowdoin's commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020.

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