Energy-efficient HVAC chiller earns MCC a $77K rebate from KCP&L

A big check in more ways than one:  Control Service Co.’s Mike Riley (from left), MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty, MCC Chief Facilities Officer Jeffrey Ullmann, KCP&L’s Chris DeLaTorre and Virgil White, and Lockheed Martin’s Claudia Gabay-Jones. (Photos by Andrew Ryan and Tim Engle/MCC)

By Mary Beth Hope

Metropolitan Community College received a rebate check for $77,663.31 from KCP&L in a ceremony at MCC-Penn Valley on July 9.

MCC earned the rebate by installing special energy-efficient equipment and controls on Penn Valley’s chiller, the piece of HVAC machinery responsible for cooling and dehumidifying the air. According to Robert Burkey, director of facility operations, these additions allow the chiller to speed up or slow down in response to demand rather than running constantly as it did in the past.

Burkey explained that previously, when a single room at Penn Valley needed cooling, the system would run at 100 percent; now, the system is reactive and can run at less than full blast. “It’s like a throttle on your car,” Burkey said. “You don’t need to go 102 all the time. You’re going to waste more gas.”

Very cool: The MCC-Penn Valley chiller has been saving kilowatt hours since new controls were installed in 2018.

The improvements mean a substantial energy savings for the College and a decrease in wear and tear.

“We really appreciate KCP&L’s willingness to let us know when these rebates are available,” Burkey said. “We’re always looking for opportunities to be more energy efficient and put things under a positive control.”

KCP&L’s Chris DeLaTorre told those at the check ceremony that new energy-saving equipment like the chiller saves customers money long-term but can be expensive on the front end. That’s why KCP&L offers rebates.

Chris DeLaTorre and Virgil White of KCP&L speak at the July 9 check presentation ceremony.

MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty said the College is always looking for ways to be greener. She expressed her appreciation for the partnership with KCP&L as well as with Lockheed Martin, the engineering firm that confirmed the new system met criteria, and Control Service Co., which installed the new equipment. She also thanked MCC’s facilities team, led by Chief Facilities OfficerJeffrey Ullmann.

MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty said the College is always trying to be greener. She thanked KCP&L, Control Service Co. and Lockheed Martin for their work on the chiller project.

MCC will deposit the rebate funds into the maintenance and repair budget, which Burkey said would allow the facilities department to address other needed campus improvements.

The College has taken advantage of dozens of KCP&L rebates over the last several years, many for energy-efficient LED lighting. MCC also used a KCP&L Solar rebate program to install solar panels on top of 18 buildings, starting in 2015. That KCP&L initiative encouraged the generation of alternative energy while reducing demand on the regional power grid.