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Harriman and Southern Maine Community College win award from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education

Portland, ME - 2013-10-04

According to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher

Education (AASHE), Harriman and Southern Maine Community College received one of four AASHE 2013 Sustainability

Leaderships Awards for an innovative HVAC system that uses seawater for

all heating and cooling needs for a recently renovated academic


The Sustainability Leadership Awards recognize diverse

institutions and the diverse initiatives that advance sustainability on

college campuses across the country.

The award for Best Case Study from

an Associate's College with 5,000 or fewer full-time students will be

presented at the AASHE Annual Conference and Expo in Nashville,

Tennessee on October 5th.

Located in South Portland, the Southern Maine Community College system

taps into nearby Casco Bay, where temperatures range from 33 degrees F

in winter to 60 degrees F in summer. Essentially the system works in

similar fashion to geothermal systems but without the drilling and with

much colder temperatures. To fashion the first-of-its-kind system,

Harriman engineers coupled marine industry technology with the only heat

pump on the market that could handle the 14 degrees F to 113 degrees F temperature ranges.

"To be recognized for our innovative engineering design is quite an

honor. This type of work transforming buildings with sustainable

solutions is what Harriman is all about," said Rob Klinedinst,

principal and architect at Harriman.

Mechanical Services installed the system at SMCC. It was designed to be

completely environmentally friendly - releasing no byproducts into the

water and requiring no fossil fuels. This innovative system makes

regulating the building's temperature easy and is three times more

efficient than conventional heating and cooling systems.

"This is a zoned facility with true heat recovery technology," said

Chris Green Jr., project manager with Mechanical Services, the company

involved with project and responsible for installation. "Proximity to

the ocean enabled us to tap an unlimited power source."

Located under the pier, the heat exchanger is an extremely important

part of the system. In the winter months it extracts heat from the ocean

water that is then used to heat the building. In the summer months it

rejects the heat from the building into the ocean. The actual

temperature differential is very minimal and does not impact ocean life.

The system has reduced heating costs by 33% and cooling costs by 27%. In

the two years since the system began operating, the college has seen an

annual savings of nearly $11,000 in energy costs. While the system cost

$84,000 more than a conventional HVAC configuration, its reduced

operating costs and no fuel oil costs will result in a payback period of

less than eight years.

"The seawater HVAC system is just the latest example of Southern Maine

Community College's ongoing initiative to transform its campus into a

college leader in sustainable practices. While our approach is

opportunistic since there is no formal sustainability plan, staff, or

dedicated funding, the AASHE award shows that we are succeeding through

our creativity," said Scott Beatty, director of admissions at

Southern Maine Community College.