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Somerset Youth Civic Center rink goes green

As the snow flurries come in white, the Somerset Youth Civic Center has gone green.

Technically, it's been green for almost two years.

In February of 2007, the Board of Directors for the Civic Center decided to install an energy system to replace its old electrical system.

"Our power factor on our electrical bill was between 50-70 percent each month," Dan Gilkerson, Somerset rink manager, said. "It was costing us an extra $500-$800 monthly."

According to Gilkerson, it will take the organization 2.5 years to pay off the system with the energy savings they have received.

The Board decided to partner with Total Energy Concepts, Inc. out of Detroit Lakes, Minn. They purchased an energy optimization system within the ice facility to protect their expensive electrical equipment from electrical disturbances such as lightning strikes, internal and external generated power surges.

Jeff Peterson, Energy Specialist with TEC, said the Civic Center was the first facility their company had helped "go green" in this area, though they've had plenty of experience in the Twin Cities area.

"They are privately funded, self-supporting so it was a nice deal if we could help them put 20 percent back in their pocket from the savings," Peterson said.

"After installing the system, our overall electrical system efficiency has improved to the 96-98 percent range," Gilkerson said. "Plus we've seen saving on our bill from 15 percent to over 23 percent in some months."

Peterson does admit that although the obvious results from the system are lower electricity bills, his company is still studying the "carbon footprint" - how much carbon emissions are cut from using the system.

The Somerset Youth Civic Center has been TEC Certified Green and will receive a TEC Certified Green Facility Certificate to display for their achievement in the near future.