The Cen­ter gets en­ergy ef­fi­cient makeover

The Covington News - - Front page - By Gabriel Khouli gkhouli@cov­

Dur­ing a sunny month, The Cen­ter for Com­mu­nity Preser­va­tion and Plan­ning in down­town Cov­ing­ton can ac­tu­ally sell elec­tric­ity back to the city of Cov­ing­ton.

The Cen­ter, lo­cated on Washington Street, was one of sev­eral build­ings out­fit­ted with so­lar pan­els last year through a state grant. Since the pan­els were in­stalled in April, The Cen­ter has ac­tu­ally pro­duced enough power dur­ing two dif­fer­ent months to sell some ex­cess elec­tric­ity back to the city.

Kay Lee, The Cen­ter’s di­rec­tor, also re­ceived a sep­a­rate state grant to ren­o­vate the build­ing’s in­te­rior and make it en­ergy ef­fi­cient. The Cen­ter has made $100,000 worth of up­grades, in­clud­ing the in­stal­la­tion of a tan­k­less wa­ter heater, en­ergy ef­fi­cient ap­pli­ances and light­ing fix­tures, dual flush toi­lets, pro­gram­mable ther­mostats and re­cy­cled build­ing ma­te­ri­als and car­pet.

The idea of The Cen­ter is to pro­vide an apo­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment to fa­cil­i­tate dis­cus­sion on com­mu­nity is­sues be­tween gov­ern­ments and the pub­lic. Lee wanted to share her story with the pub­lic, and stu­dents from the Montes­sori School of Cov­ing­ton were more than happy to help out.

The school was also a re­cip­i­ent of the so­lar pan­els and has pro­moted sus­tain­able liv­ing for years. So, teacher Sara Vin­son as­signed her sev­enth and eight grade stu­dents the

task of study­ing the en­ergy ef­fi­ciency fea­tures and writ­ing a short explainer, like one would find in a mu­seum.

“One of the keys of Montes­sori ed­u­ca­tion is to get stu­dents out into the world to do projects,” Vin­son said. “The stu­dents had to in­ter­view their clients, The Cen­ter, and write a de­scrip­tion that em­pha­sizes what the client wants. It’s the most re­al­is­tic type of writ­ing com­pared to what they’ll do in the pro­fes­sional world.”

Eight grader Carly Travis chose to fo­cus on the re­us­able build­ing ma­te­ri­als that coat The Cen­ter’s walls, be­cause she’s seen a lot of older build­ings that could use ren­o­vat­ing.

“It’s good that they can save so much money (by us­ing re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als), and they’re not wast­ing any­thing,” Travis said.

For sev­enth grader John Sauer, the project hits home. His fam­ily was con­sid­er­ing re­plac­ing their old wa­ter heater, so he stud­ied the tan­k­less wa­ter heater to do a lit­tle fam­ily scout­ing. Af­ter learn­ing about the re­sults, his fam­ily will make the $1,000 in­vest­ment nec­es­sary to be­come more ef­fi­cient.

For The Cen­ter, a build­ing that runs on grants and pub­lic do­na­tions, ev­ery lit­tle help is greatly ap­pre­ci­ated. The stu­dents’ de­scrip­tions will be kept at the cen­ter to help ed­u­cate res­i­dents who may be look­ing for ways to up­grade their homes.

Gabriel Khouli/The Cov­ing­ton News

Crit­i­cal thinkers: Montes­sori stu­dent Tai Paulsen de­scribed The Cen­ter’s use of re­cy­cled car­pet to be­come more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly.

Gabriel Khouli/The Cov­ing­ton News

En­er­getic stu­dents: Stu­dent pre­sen­ters (left to right) Tay­lor Bechtler, Sarah Allen, Carly Travis, Made­line McCan­less, Mariam Gor­eish, Tai Paulsen, John Bradley Sauer, Jack­son White, (not pic­tured Claire Vin­son).

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