RDC celebrates official grand opening of Alternative Energy Lab

Date posted: 
Thu, 02/07/2019
Alternative Energy Lab Opening - Group During Ribbon Cutting

Red Deer College reached an important milestone today with the official grand opening of the Alternative Energy Lab.

Located on main campus, the lab is a dynamic, flexible learning and research space with a range of technology to support the latest in alternative energy innovation. “This lab, along with all of the other alternative energy projects we have undertaken across our College over the past few years, makes RDC a post-secondary leader in alternative energy and innovation,” says Joel Ward, President & CEO. “We are providing opportunities for our students to get applied learning experiences with alternative energy systems, and we’re also a hub for learning, demonstration, and research with our business and industry partners.”

Approximately 1,000 students from programs such as Engineering Technologies, Electrician, Instrumentation and Control Technician, and Carpentry will learn in and from the lab each year. As part of the learning opportunities, mirrored technology is a key feature of the new lab, where equipment within the space replicates and simulates the systems of alternative energy units RDC has installed.

One example of this is found in the rooftop solar panels, which have been installed on the lab in a variety of configurations, allowing students to learn about emerging energy technologies by replicating real-world conditions. Another example can be seen in the energy-generating combined heat and power unit: a fully-functioning unit had been installed outside of the lab, with a smaller teaching unit available for learning purposes inside.

The Alternative Energy Lab is an important component of RDC’s larger Alternative Energy Initiative, which promotes environmental stewardship through the application of sustainable and energy efficient technologies. The initiative is possible because of the Government of Canada’s Post-Secondary Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) grant, with matching investment by RDC.

“Our Government’s investment in Red Deer College’s infrastructure means a reduced environmental footprint and the right tools to boost innovation and research,” says the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “It supports good middle-class jobs, boosts economic growth and shapes a better future for Canadians.”

Through RDC’s over-arching initiative, the College has installed 4,190 solar panels across main campus. At this time, an estimated 23% of the annual electricity needs are being generated from solar power, reducing CO2 emissions by almost 1,100 tons per year. Through the College’s combined heat and power unit and other potential technology, such as converting organic waste into biomass energy on-site, RDC will continue to reduce its energy consumption and carbon footprint.

“Thanks to support from our government and industry partners, RDC is building a legacy of sustainability that will serve not only our students, but also people from across the region. We have a goal to be carbon-neutral in five years, and we’re 25% of the way there already,” says Ward. “We’re having an impact by becoming more energy efficient and sustainable as an organization. Through our new lab, we’re also having an impact by providing teaching and learning opportunities that will help our students and industry partners to be knowledgeable about the technology that’s available today, as they create technology that’s needed for the future.”

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For additional information contact:

Shelley Newman  
Communications Strategist – Corporate  

Brent Forster      
Communications Strategist - Corporate