Among other changes, three new heat pumps were installed on south side of the Bennington Early Childhood Center as part of a recent energy retrofit. (Submitted Photo)
BENNINGTON — The Bennington Early Childhood Center has completed a Deep Energy Retrofit, funded in part by a grant from Efficiency Vermont.
The work was completed over the summer by The Secor Group. According to Darlene Bombard, one of the center’s co-directors, the work included installing insulation, LED lights, a new water heater, heating and cooling pumps, and more. “It was a very intensive summer, getting it all done,” she said.
The center will be eligible to receive the full amount of the grant if its energy savings are at least 50 percent. Bombard says, based on early indications, the center could very well exceed that goal. “We’re excited to watch and see how things go,” she said.
“It has been really great in evening out the temperatures from classroom to classroom,” she said of the heating and cooling system, which enters automatic energy saving mode when a room isn’t being used, “I’m falling in love with the one in my classroom.”
Bennington Early Childhood Center was chosen, along with the Hiland Hall School, Casella Waste Systems in Rutland, the city of St. Albans, Hannaford Supermarket in Brandon, and a multi-tenant office building in Waitsfield, to participate in the first phase of the Deep Energy Retrofit program, which was announced in 2015.
The directors of the facility worked with Marcus Jones of Efficiency Vermont to determine which energy-efficiency projects to complete as part of the retrofit. One area Bombard said was not included, but could be considered in the future, is solar. “I really believe in solar power,” said Bombard, adding that while the center does not have the space available to set up an array that would power the entire building, they could at least offset their electricity costs.
According to Efficiency Vermont’s description of the process for checking an organization’s benchmarks to see if it qualifies for the full amount of the grant, “We will use real-time measurement to evaluate each participant’s success. We will also look at each facility as a whole, measuring total energy use across fuel types. This method of measurement will allow us to consider participant’s behavioral measures in addition to larger weatherization projects and equipment upgrades. With this innovative approach to achieving energy savings, we will gain new insights that will help us modify and design Efficiency Vermont programs in the future. We think these six Vermont businesses are up for the challenge.”
“The mission of the Bennington Early Childhood Center (BECC) is to provide an intellectually challenging, developmentally appropriate preschool program for children age two to six,” reads the center’s website, www.benningtonecc.org, “The BECC is a preschool program offering half or full-day options for three, four, or five days a week. The BECC is open to the public, serving children of all cultures, backgrounds, and abilities. The environment and program encourage each child to develop as an individual and as part of a group, while exploration, positive social interaction, and emotional security are also fostered.”
Contact Derek Carson at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.