Thanks to a grant from Dominion Power, The Dominion Conservation Classroom is open for business. Yesterday, I participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Virginia State Fair to launch this interactive, highly efficient space. The space, a former pole barn, was transformed into a state of the art classroom designed to be net zero- meaning it produces more energy than it uses! It incorporated Solar, Spray Foam, Geo-Thermal Heat Pump, LED lightning and more (see above Dominion Classroom Fact Sheet 2011). The classroom currently holds displays for The Fair, including a salute to African American heritage. After the fair, it will be used by local schools for research, projects, and continuing studies.
Hugh Joyce, owner of James River Heating and Air, designed this project using a team of talented contractors who each provided a piece important to the functionality of the project. As our master of ceremonies, Hugh led the classroom tour; which included the public, press and Boy Scouts from Ashland, VA. His simple, real world explanations of how each component worked together to create a building that will ultimately produce more electricity than it uses was masterful. At the building’s control center, he demonstrated how energy use is tracked and wowed the crowd by actually causing the power meter to run backwards! He visually explained how a loop system works in Geo-Thermal- using the constant temperature of the earth to help heat and cool the building. He continued through the classroom, pointing out that the LED lightning used 8 watts per bulb. This compares to 60 watts from a normal bulb. He highlighted the spray foam, and emphasized the importance of air-sealing. The tour ended at the impressive, pole mounted solar panels. This is where he fielded questions from the enthusiastic crowd. One young man wanted to know when we will be using all of this technology in our own homes- Hugh’s answer- “In 10 years you will see all or some pieces of this technology in all homes”- quite a statement- simply put.