Alberta’s Red Deer College (RDC) has broken ground on its new Alternative Energy Lab.
Once constructed, the lab will be used for teaching, demonstration and applied research related to alternative energy opportunities. It’s one of several initiatives the school is undertaking to promote alternative energy and efficiency, explains a release.
"The Alternative Energy Lab will be an innovative learning space that will give RDC students hands-on experiences to build familiarity and confidence with alternative energy systems," said Joel Ward, RDC president and CEO in a statement. "Over 1,000 RDC students will benefit from the lab each year, especially those in the fields of engineering technology, electrician, instrumentation technician and carpentry."
Officials anticipate the project will wrap up next spring. Once the facility is operational, RDC will also use the space to network with central Alberta businesses wanting to explore alternative energy production options.
"This lab will serve as a data hub to increase knowledge and awareness for industry, consumers and researchers," said Jim Brinkhurst, vice-president of college services. "The intention is for it be recognized as an impartial resource for alternative energy information relevant to central Alberta, while also providing a venue for advanced industry training and applied research on new technologies."
The lab is part of the college’s alternative energy initiative which has three parts. It is possible because of the Government of Canada’s Post-Secondary Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) grant, with matching investment by Red Deer College.
The initiative also includes using solar panels on campus and a combined heat and power unit to produce energy. The school is also changing all its exterior lighting to use LEDs.
The school anticipates its efforts will create and save approximately 9,340 megawatt hours per year, offsetting current campus electricity usage by an estimated 67 per cent, the release adds. This would be the equivalent of the energy required to power 1,300 average Alberta homes – or the equivalent of removing 1,100 cars off the road annually.