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Colby’s BioMass Plant Receives USGBC Award

04.25.14 / Kate Shoss

ARC is pleased to announce the ARC-designed BioMass Heating and Cogeneration Plant for Colby College received a Special Recognition Award in the Green Innovation Category for the 2014 USGBC Awards. The BioMass Plant was one of only four projects recognized by the USGBC this year. Philip Laird, Principal-in-Charge of the project, was on hand this week for the Earth Day Event to accept the award on ARC’s behalf.

For this project, ARC partnered with Rist-Frost-Shumway Engineering to develop a plan to reduce the College’s reliance on oil through the design of a new 15,800 SF biomass heating plant with cogeneration.

Innovative green strategies included rethinking the waste energy in the building and using it as a resource. The existing plant was a lightly insulated building with very little attention given to waterproofing or vapor control.  The new building was designed to be well insulated and air tight, essentially trapping all of the waste heat in upper areas of the plant.  With the use of highly efficient fans and cast in place air ducts under the chip bin floor, the team was able to siphon the waste heat to dry the chips in the storage area, increasing the overall efficiency of the process.

Additional sustainable elements included the use of recycled/recyclable materials, efficient lighting, day lighting, indoor air quality, durable material and construction methods, and sustainable site strategies earned the project LEED Gold Certification. The building generates energy from local resources allowing the college to have more control over its energy choices, which is possibly the strongest design feature of this plant. In 2013, the College became the fourth college nationwide to achieve carbon neutrality, two years ahead of schedule from their goal of 2015 as published in their Climate Action Plan. The biomass plant is helping to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 70% which has been a key contributor in aiding the College to successfully become carbon neutral.

For more project details please click here.

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