Students see green building take shape at Eastern Wake 4.0 site

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RALEIGH, NC (April 22, 2022) – Wake Tech students celebrated Earth Day in a cool way with a tour of the green power plant being built at the college’s future campus in Wendell.

Architectural Technology and Construction Management graduate students studying green building and design got first-hand insight into the environmentally sustainable building features emerging during a field trip to the construction site Eastern Wake 4.0 Friday.

The Central Energy Plant is the first building under construction, but all buildings planned for the site are designed with green building features, including:

  • Sustainable building materials
  • High output lighting design
  • Natural light and connection to nature
  • Using geothermal wells to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat and cool buildings
  • District heating and cooling system, where water is pumped underground to each building for heating and cooling
  • Photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, which convert sunlight into electricity
  • Use of materials low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as paint, sealants and cleaning products, which make the air healthier to breathe
  • Access to charging stations for electric vehicles

“Sustainable elements such as daylighting, thermal comfort, access to nature, acoustics and indoor air quality can create a space where students and teachers have improved health, well-being being and their academic performance,” says Sarah Burnette, design and construction project manager at Wake Tech. “Site tours like these help equip students with real-world experience to not only help them understand the field they are studying, but also to gain insight into what their career path may look like. resemble.”

The plant will house chillers and boilers for campus-wide backup heating and cooling. Energy savings and efficiency will be integrated using advanced solar technology and geothermal wells. The central energy plant will include an apprentice training center to support neighboring companies such as Siemens.

In addition to learning about the interior green building and design features, students also got to watch geothermal well drilling in action. In total, a geothermal well field made up of 297 wells will use the Earth to heat and cool the buildings of the future campus.

“Seeing the geothermal well area was really neat,” said Kaitlyn Dimmitt, an architectural technology student. “I’ve learned about geothermal energy in other classes, but I’ve never seen it on such a large scale before, so it was very interesting to see all the components and how they fit together. I’m really a visual learner, so being able to be here and see it in person really helps me learn more about the program and the real-life experience.”

Wake Tech is currently seeking Green Globes certification for Eastern Wake 4.0 buildings, demonstrating leadership in applying best practices in energy, water and environmental efficiency.

Wake Tech completed its first Green Globes-certified project at the Lilly Science and Technology Center, which recently opened on the RTP campus. This building has earned a Two Green Globes rating and incorporates energy-efficient technology, high-efficiency lighting design, recycling, and the use of low-VOC materials.

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