Koby Koomson, former Ambassador of Ghana to the United States, visited The University of Findlay campus on Friday, June 13, to see first-hand how large organizations can save on energy use and cost. Green & Energy Operations, Detroit, brought the Ambassador to campus to meet with Greensleeves LLC, the company that designed and installed the geothermal system in UF’s Davis Street Building.
According to Ambassador Koomson, Ghana has been tasked by its president to considerably increase energy production by 2016. Currently, the country suffers from almost constant brownouts and, often, power is turned off overnight to conserve energy for the next business day. Temperatures in Ghana can often average 92 degrees in the “hot” season (April through October) and almost everyone has air conditioning.
“Mosquitos make it almost impossible to keep windows open,” the Ambassador added.
The energy issues are having a negative impact on Ghana’s economy, so a solution is imperative. Greensleeves’ ground source geothermal system does not create more electricity, but minimizes use of existing electric power. It’s estimated that the Greensleeves system in the 42,000-square-foot Davis Street addition uses 57 percent less energy and will save the University $1.5 million over the next 20 years.
“Our software is learning this building at The University of Findlay,” said Bob Braam, vice president of sales for Greensleeves. “It will know what is the best time to release heat based on events that have happened in the building in the past.”
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers named UF’s system as “best in the world for a new educational building” for 2014. Although the Greensleeves’ system cost about $100,000 more than traditional geothermal systems, the energy cost savings covered that in about 16 months.
Ambassador Koomson, along with Katherine Fell, Ph.D., University president; Marty Terry, vice president for business affairs; and Marcia Sloan Latta, vice president for University advancement, listened to the presentation by Braam and Stephen Hamstra, Greensleeves president. Green & Energy Operations had also arranged for Koomson to visit Columbus, Ohio before returning to Washington, D.C., later in the day.
The Davis Street Building addition opened in 2012 to accommodate the increase in students majoring in the sciences, health professions and pharmacy. It houses four classrooms, 19 laboratories and a 112-seat lecture hall. In addition to the heating and air conditioning system, it includes other energy-saving features like motion-sensitive lighting and laboratory fume hoods that run only when needed.