Co-op-served school goes “green” for some big savings

Approximately 300 students from the Big Sandy School District — which is electrically served by Tri-State member co-op Mountain View Electric Association (Limon, Colo.) — will soon be hitting the books in a new pre-school through grade 12 building that features some of the latest engineering and architectural innovations, including a geothermal heat pump system that both the co-op and Tri-State will reward with some attractive monetary incentives through its Energy Efficiency Products program.

This unique building, now in its final construction phases in Simla, Colo., incorporates three separate academic wings — one each for the elementary grades, junior high and senior high — with a fourth wing housing athletics, the wood shop and the cafeteria.

This unique building, now in its final construction phases in Simla, Colo., incorporates three separate academic wings — one each for the elementary grades, junior high and senior high — with a fourth wing housing athletics, the wood shop and the cafeteria.

This unique building, now in its final construction phases in Simla, Colo., incorporates three separate academic wings — one each for the elementary grades, junior high and senior high — with a fourth wing housing athletics, the wood shop and the cafeteria.

It is regarded as a “high performance design” by the architects. The school’s floor plan has classrooms oriented along an east-west axis to capture maximum natural daylight and the building also incorporates good acoustical isolation between teaching spaces for a quieter learning environment.

“At the current electric rates that we are paying Mountain View Electric, we have roughly calculated a 10-year payback on the school’s heat pump system,” said Steve Wilson, Big Sandy School District superintendent.

This interior photo shows the nearly completed library at Big Sandy School in Simla, Colo.

This interior photo shows the nearly completed library at Big Sandy School in Simla, Colo.

“We have not completed all of the calculations for the qualifying rebates from Mountain View and Tri-State, but we are expecting that the heat pump system, LED lights and electric motors should add up to at least a $40,000 check to the school district,” said Ray Singmaster, rebate and electrician services supervisor for Mountain View Electric.

The new 83,000 square-foot Big Sandy School is scheduled for completion by mid-July — in time for the start of the new school year in August.

This project marks at least the fourth major geothermal installation in an academic building across Mountain View’s service territory. In 2009, Palmer Ridge High School, in Monument, received Energy Efficiency Products rebate checks from Mountain View and Tri-State totaling nearly $200,000.

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