Wednesday, August 3, 2011

INTAC 697 Visit Wrap-Up

A few months ago, Patrick, OED's program manager for renewables, headed up to Lake County take part in INTAC 697's unveiling of a new training center in Merrillville.  INTAC 697 was awarded a $73,500 Alternative Power & Energy (APE) grant from OED, so we wanted to make sure to share with you how the funds were spent.

This training center is a joint project of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 697 and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).  This facility is a 42,000 square foot green educational facility that is aiming for a LEED Gold designation (what a great accomplishment!).

OED's grant partially funded two solar PV array consisting of 48 American-made Sharp 224 watt solar modules total.  Both arrays were mounted to an American-made silverback mounting structure from regionally-produced American steel.  During construction, INTAC was able to use power from the solar arrays to provide electricity to the construction site.

Photo courtesy of Tracy Hall

Photo courtesy of Tracy Hall

A unique part of this project was that the group took a hands-on approach to installation.  Seasoned journeymen and apprentice electricians attended several photovoltaic systems training classes.  These arrays not only gave those journeymen and electricians a great educational opportunity, but the arrays will be utilized to train future generations of electricians -- in their own training facility.

Although their other work isn't tied to OED's grant, other projects included:
  • LED lighting
  • Plug-ins for electric vehicles
  • Glass-enclosed electrical and technology service rooms in the main lobby, with video displays to monitor building performance, including solar power output
  • Storm water filtration and collection system
  • Low VOC paints, caulks, adhesives
  • Increased natural light
  • White roof design
  • High efficiency boiler

As if they haven't done quite a bit thus far, next up on their agenda is a wind turbine, more solar panels, and a green roof.

Next time you head up to northwest Indiana, make sure you look out for this facility!

And -- many thanks to all the folks with INTAC 697 for a job well done.

INTAC 697 was a recipient of Alternative Power & Energy (APE) funds from the Indiana Office of Energy Development.  The APE program is funded through the U.S. Department of Energy's State Energy Program (SEP).