August 1, 2014

Medina
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New generator at Medina High produces heat and electricity

MEDINA — Medina Schools is the only district in the state to install a highly efficient generator that converts natural gas into both thermal and electrical energy.

District Business Manager Jon Burkhart said the “cogeneration unit,” manufactured by MTU Onsite Energy, is expected to generate a fifth of Medina High School’s electricity and heating, curbing yearly bills by about $83,000.

Burkhart said the unit cost about $420,000, not including gas and maintenance costs.

Medina school board member Tracy Givelekian looks on as W.W.Williams spokesman H. Tom Drake, center, and Brewer-Garrett spokesman Eric Betz explain how a new generator at the school works. The generator is estimated to save the district about $83,000 annually on electricity and heating bills. (NICK GLUNT / GAZETTE)

Medina school board member Tracy Givelekian looks on as W.W.Williams spokesman H. Tom Drake, center, and Brewer-Garrett spokesman Eric Betz explain how a new generator at the school works. The generator is estimated to save the district about $83,000 annually on electricity and heating bills. (NICK GLUNT / GAZETTE)

“This unit will pay for itself within eight years,” Burkhart said.

The generator is ideal for Medina High School, officials said, because the school and the Medina Recreational Center share a space. The energy and savings will benefit both locations.

The generator was brought in as a result of consulting with representatives at W.W.Williams, an MTU Onsite Energy distributor, and efficiency experts at Brewer-Garrett Co.

“What we’re essentially doing is putting an electrical power plant on site,” W.W.Williams spokesman H. Tom Drake said.

He said electrical power produces a waste byproduct — like the exhaust from a smokestack — but this generator makes use of the waste.

“The idea is to harness all the heat the generator produces,” Drake said.

The generator’s pipes can reach temperatures of 700 degrees. But Drake said so much heat is harnessed that the temperature drops to 125 degrees by the time the pipes reach the high school roof.

He said he expects the generator to serve Medina Schools for many years to come.

“As long as it’s properly maintained,” Drake said, “this generator will be here as long as the school is here.”

Working with Brewer-Garrett, with which it has a 15-year contract, Medina Schools participated in the state’s Energy Conservation Program, also known as House Bill 264 Program, which allows districts to make efficiency improvements based on the savings generated by the replacement.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.