University of New England Campus Center - Biddeford, Maine
The solar hot water system on University of New England’s Campus Center will save roughly 3,960 therms of natural gas annually, a savings of roughly $5,500

The University of New England is the latest college campus to show leadership in sustainability with the installation of 21 flat plate solar hot water collectors on their Campus Center.

Made possible by a $50,000 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Grant, the system will heat water to between 80-140 degrees before it is fed into an existing gas boiler.

The total annual energy output of the system is estimated at 237,615,000 BTUs per year, which at a typical boiler efficiency of 60% will save roughly 3,960 therms of natural gas annually.

Below is a schematic of the system, consisting of the panels and multiple pre-heated solar storage tanks:

UNE Solar Hot Water System Schematic

The Portland Press Herald reported this on the project:

The project, administered by Efficiency Maine, is expected to provide up to 50 percent of the Campus Center’s hot water energy supply. The real-time digital monitor also being installed will enable the university to determine cost and energy savings.

“Everyone is excited about it, ” said Alethea Cariddi, the university’s sustainability coordinator, adding that the project is part of a “multi-pronged strategy the university is taking to achieve our climate neutral goal.”

Full article:

UNE’s Sustainability Coordinator, Alethea Cariddi, leads the university’s efforts to pursue climate neutrality through behavioral change and energy efficiencies. She says, “The solar hot water project on our Biddeford Campus Center is UNE’s first experience with renewable energy sources … Reducing our energy demand, increasing our efficiency of energy use and utilizing renewable energy sources is the multi-pronged strategy the university will be taking to achieve our climate neutral goal.”

In November 2008, UNE President Danielle Ripich signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, pledging along with other higher education leaders across America to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on campus and raise awareness of the issue of climate change.

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