West Penn Power Fund grant supports energy efficiency in Saint Vincent library expansion
A $75,000 grant from the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund will help Saint Vincent College include energy-efficient initiatives in the renovation and expansion of its library while educating students and the community about those measures.
The $22 million project that is underway at the Dale P. Latimer Library includes installation of educational displays explaining the 56,000-square-foot building’s solar photo voltaic system, which converts sunlight into electricity. Saint Vincent will feature information about the library’s energy-efficient technologies on its Green Campus Initiatives website and is planning related educational programming for undergraduate students, K-12 students and teachers and the general public.
Another green initiative noted on the website is the college’s effort, in partnership with environmental organizations, to improve water quality in the local Fourmile Run and Monastery Run though an acid mine drainage treatment project.
The upgraded library at the college’s Unity campus also will have a “dedicated outside air system” that will remove any contaminants from outside air while channeling it into the building. According to college officials, the air system will operate independently of heating or cooling efforts. It’s expected to conserve energy and decrease the production of greenhouse gases by limiting electrical consumption needed to regulate the interior space.
The system also will serve as a dehumidifier, helping to prevent moisture-related problems such as mold growth.
“Saint Vincent College greatly values our partnership with the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund and shares its commitment to energy conservation and environmental stewardship,” said Fr. Paul Taylor, the college’s president, in a prepared statement.
Saint Vincent will use a portion of the Sustainable Energy Fund grant to help cover the costs of applying to the U.S. Green Building Council for certification of the library in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.
College officials hope to achieve LEED certification for the library at the Silver level or higher. Two other buildings on the campus — the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion and the Fred Rogers Center — are LEED Gold certified.
A previous Sustainable Energy Fund grant supported the college’s 2015 “Lighting the Way to a Green Future” project. That effort reduced energy usage and heating and cooling costs by installing LED lighting at the Robert S. Carey Student Center and in the library. That lighting will be preserved as part of the library upgrade, which includes construction of a 13,000-square-foot addition.
The expanded library will house three floor levels within two stories. It will feature four new classrooms, a computer lab, a video production suite, a writing and tutoring center and a social space with a barista cafe.
The expanded library also will provide for storage and display of Saint Vincent’s art collections, including galleries that the public can access.
Construction is proceeding in three phases, with the final phase set for next summer.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .