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CCRI, Ameresco celebrate completion
of first phase of energy improvements

Feb. 28, 2013

Officials cut the ribbon at a ceremony on Feb. 27. Gov. Lincoln Chafee cuts the ribbon at a celebration of the completion of the first phase of an energy savings performance contract at CCRI on Feb. 27.

The next time you enter one of the Community College of Rhode Island's four campuses, you will be surrounded by newly installed state-of-the-art equipment that will save the school $1.2 million per year in utility costs while having a positive environmental impact.

Ameresco Inc., an energy efficiency and renewable energy company based in Framingham, Mass., worked for more than a year to install a variety of improvements to the infrastructure of CCRI’s four campuses. The end of the first phase of improvements was celebrated in a special ribbon-cutting event on Feb. 27 at the Knight Campus. Gov. Lincoln Chafee, CCRI President Ray Di Pasquale, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, and Ameresco President and CEO George P. Sakellaris all spoke about the benefits of the partnership between Ameresco and CCRI.

New gas heating systems, energy efficient motion-sensing lights, heating and air conditioning upgrades, and carbon-sensing ventilation systems will save CCRI $21.1 million over the course of the school’s budget-neutral contract with the company. This money can be put to better use reinvested in CCRI’s students and campus facilities.

This is great news for Rhode Island taxpayers, CCRI students and for the environment at large.

“I believe that the way to grow our economy in this state is through [investments in] education … and also infrastructure,” Chafee said. “It is a combination of those that we’re here to celebrate today.”

Di Pasquale said that one of the college’s priorities as a public institution is to responsibly steward taxpayer dollars. He said the environmentally friendly improvements will save money for Rhode Island and serve as an example to the rest of the state.

“Ameresco is a true partner of the college in every way that we operate,” he said.

Sakellaris described the partnership as, “A win-win situation for everyone. … We are very proud that we are here and that we are a part of this sustainability project.”

Besides the tangible benefit of money saved, these new improvements are environmentally conscious. CCRI will cut 4,941 metric tons of carbon dioxide output each year. This is the equivalent of keeping 905 cars off the road for that amount of time; powering 685 households for a year; or planting 1,123 acres of pine forest to absorb carbon.

A tour of the work included the Vincent A. Cullen Field House.The bulk of the work has taken place at the Knight Campus, the college’s oldest building. One of the major improvements to CCRI’s buildings will be felt at this year’s commencement: The air conditioning system at Knight’s Vincent A. Cullen Field House, where commencement is held every May, is now much more efficient.

In addition, CCRI will save money on the field house’s utilities thanks to motion-sensing lights that come on only when the gym is fully occupied and carbon detectors that turn parts of the ventilation system on or off depending on how many people are in the gym.

Improvements at the Newport County Campus are completed and operational, while new installations in Warwick and at the Liston Campus in Providence are being certified, or tested to make sure they run as expected. Work continues at the Flanagan Campus in Lincoln, where electric heating is being converted to more efficient natural gas.

View a photo gallery of the event.


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Last Updated: 1/31/14