The Met-Ed / Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund has awarded a $230,000 grant toward a green building project at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. The $22 million project includes a new academic building to house new engineering technology programs on campus, including energy engineering technology.
Berks County Community Foundation and Community Foundation for the Alleghenies (CFA) administer the Met-Ed / Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund, which provides financial support to promote renewable and clean energy, energy conservation and efficiency, and sustainable energy businesses within the former service territories of Met-Ed and Penelec.
The $230,000 grant will fund a rooftop solar array projected to produce approximately 113,000 kWh/year and a building energy dashboard that will aid in community education and engagement. The building, which is currently being constructed, will be built to a gold level of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Construction is expected to be complete by fall 2022.
In addition to introducing green building to the local community, the new building will provide unique spaces to spark students’ creativity, and the programs housed there will prepare students for engineering and information technology careers in the region and beyond.
“We’re very grateful to the Met-Ed / Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund for this support,” said Rick Esch, Pitt-Bradford’s interim president. “This new building, the rooftop solar array, and the
building dashboard will provide unique educational opportunities for our students that will help them lead future sustainability efforts in our communities.”
The Met-Ed / Penelec SEF advisory committee appreciated that the project aligns closely with the fund’s mission, CFA Associate Director Angie Berzonski said. When complete, the Pitt-Bradford engineering building will be the third LEED-certified building in McKean County, according to public LEED certification records.
“This is a high-profile project for a rural community in the northern tier of the Penelec SEF’s service territory,” she said. “The advisory committee is impressed by Pitt-Bradford’s commitment to clean energy technology and pleased to be able to support a solar installation that will serve as a conversation-starter for some and a model for others.”
The impact also extends to the local labor force.
“This is more than just a building project,” said Kevin Lugo, Berks County Community Foundation’s Program Officer for Energy and the Environment. “Pitt-Bradford’s new engineering programs, including energy technology engineering, will support a growing local and regional need for highly-skilled labor by educating students locally and creating a pathway to career employment in Bradford and beyond.”