Hollins Continues Partnership with Local Nonprofit to Implement Energy Solutions

barbeeIn collaboration with Community Housing Partners (CHP), a regional, not-for-profit housing and community development organization, Hollins University is completing an energy efficiency retrofit of one of the historic structures on campus during the week of November 11.

The work follows a comprehensive energy audit conducted by CHP last January at Barbee House, which offers guest accommodations at Hollins. The audit identified exactly where and how the building loses energy and determined what measures can be taken to retrofit the building for more efficient energy use. The auditors evaluated heating and air conditioning systems, insulation and air leakage, windows and doors, water heating, lighting, and other appliances.

The construction will focus on addressing the substantial heat loss in Barbee that was confirmed by the audit. Workers will perform air sealing in the attic and basement/crawlspace areas, while insulation will be bolstered in the attic and sidewalls.

The retrofit project is supported by a green revolving fund that was established at Hollins in May. The university was awarded a $50,000 grant by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund to further a campus culture of environmental sustainability and Hollins provided matching funds of $100,000, bringing the total value of the fund to $150,000. According to the Sustainable Endowments Institute, “Green revolving funds invest in energy efficiency projects to reduce energy consumption and reinvest the money saved in future projects.”

“The retrofit is part of a portfolio of approximately $65,000 worth of projects that we’ve identified to tackle in this first year,” said Hollins Energy Manager Jesse Freedman. “The Barbee project is estimated to save us about $4,500 a year, and will improve indoor air quality and make the space more comfortable for our guests.”

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund is a national foundation based in Jacksonville, Florida, that works with small colleges and universities to encourage and sustain efforts to reduce energy consumption and, in so doing, reduce costs. In 2011, the fund presented a $200,000 grant to Hollins and Emory & Henry College to support a joint, three-year energy conservation project, a key component of which was the hiring of a shared energy manager to conduct a comprehensive assessment of energy consumption on each campus; identify strategies to further decrease energy use; develop and implement energy policies for each institution; and enhance educational activities to promote energy conservation by members of each campus community.