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Governor Ritter tours largest climate control system in Colorado

Electric cooperatives provide rebates and incentives for energy efficiency


Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter toured Palmer Ridge High School, getting a firsthand look at the largest geothermal heating and cooling system in Colorado, which allows the new high school to use energy more efficiently and save money. Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and its electric cooperative member, Mountain View Electric Association, provided more than $190,000 in rebates and incentives to reward the school district’s commitment to energy efficiency.



“The cooperation among Tri-State, Mountain View and the Lewis-Palmer School District is precisely how Colorado is leading the nation in building a New Energy Economy through energy

Palmer Ridge High School


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efficiency and renewable energy,” said Governor Ritter. “This geothermal system, the largest in the state, is saving the school money and resources that can go back into the classroom, where it is much needed.”


Following the tour, the governor addressed nearly 500 students to discuss energy efficiency and congratulated the school district for its dedication to the smart use of energy.  Tri-State and Mountain View also presented Principal Gary Gabel with the “Harnessing the Earth’s Energy” award in honor of the school’s energy efficiency.


The geothermal system was installed in the new school building, which opened in August 2008, and includes approximately 200 wells, or “loops,” buried in a field behind the school.  Those loops circulate water and the constant 55ºF temperature of the earth heats or cools the circulating water loops as needed to balance the building’s year-round heating and cooling requirements.


“Tri-State and Mountain View have innovative programs to help our member-consumers, including rural schools, use energy more efficiently,” said Mac McLennan, Tri-State’s senior vice president of external affairs.  “We are proud to provide our largest school rebate ever to compliment the significant savings the school district will receive from its energy efficiency efforts.”


In comparison to the district’s other high school that is of similar size but has a conventional heating and cooling system, the geothermal system and other energy efficient measures at Palmer Ridge High School have saved the school district approximately 50 percent on its energy bills since August, a savings of about $60,000.  In addition, construction costs were reduced by about $225,000 due to the reduction in space required for the geothermal system as compared to a traditional HVAC system.  The system also provides roof space that has been utilized as a “green” roof, because coolers are not filling that space as they would with a conventional system.


“This system allows us to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars and to set a clear example for our youth that energy conservation is no longer just a nice thought but a necessity as we move forward,” said Lewis-Palmer superintendent, Dr. Ray Blanch.  “It is likely that the very students in this school will solve the current and future energy challenges that face our nation.”


Students at Palmer Ridge High School have just completed Energy Efficiency Week, during which the school partnered with Tri-State to provide facts and information about energy efficiency during the morning announcements.  During today’s assembly, Tri-State conducted a “game show” to drive the information home with the kids.  Gov. Ritter asked the bonus question of the two finalists.  The winner took home an iPod shuffle and energy efficient light bulbs donated by the cooperatives.



Updated: March 20, 2009




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