SFCC Granted $351,000 for Building Energy Automation and Microgrid Training Center
The U.S. Economic Development Administration has granted Santa Fe Community College $351,000 to purchase equipment for a Building Energy Automation and Microgrid Training Center (BEAMTC). Two labs will provide specialized hands-on training. The college is leveraging an additional $326,000 in state appropriations and $111,661 in donated equipment and engineering expertise from Siemens Industries and other industry partners. This investment will create a research environment to support product development, testing, workforce training and business attraction and is projected to support up to 750 jobs in the next 10 years.
BEAMTC will be housed in the college’s innovative, energy-efficient Trades and Advanced Technology Center. It will serve the entire North Central New Mexico Economic Development District (Colfax, Los Alamos, Mora, Río Arriba, San Miguel, Santa Fe and Taos counties) as well as nine pueblos and tribes.
Building automation systems (BAS) control heating, cooling, fresh air, lighting and security. A microgrid is a distribution network for electrical energy, from generation to transmission and storage. A microgrid offers a local energy system that can operate independently from the larger grid. Microgrids expand the reach of BAS to include integration of multiple energy systems, add resiliency in the event of power disruptions and enable advanced cyber security.
The college is currently constructing a 12,000-square-foot greenhouse for advanced hydroponics and aquaponics and a second lab with an advanced microgrid controller. Both the building automation systems lab and the greenhouse nanogrid will become nodes of a campus-wide microgrid.
Camilla Bustamante, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Trades, Technology, Sustainability and Professional Studies, said, “The BEAMTC will prepare a workforce that is up-to-date on energy-smart building, as well as microgrid technology. Just as people want to secure and control energy costs in their homes through smart phones, the construction industry is looking at building smarter, more energy-efficient buildings that offer cyber security that can be controlled independently from the main power grid.”
Students can begin taking classes in Engineering Technologies for a certificate or associate in applied science this fall. More classes in smart and microgrid technology will be offered as the BEAMTC becomes operational. For more information, call 505.428.1639 or email@example.com
Reconnecting to our Local Future
October 12–14, James A. Little Theater, Santa Fe
The Economics of Happiness Conference will explore and explain how humans can shift direction—environmentally, economically and spiritually—from a globalized system of exploitation, inequality and environmental degradation toward local cultures and economies that support renewal, resilience and human and planetary well-being. The conference, while identifying systemic root causes of our interconnected crises, will focus primarily on identifying key strategic shifts and cultivating collaboration toward economic localization.
There will be lectures and panel discussions, as well as music, art and ceremony. Educators, students, public policy makers, entrepreneurs, business leaders and activists will have opportunities to interact. The organizers hope the conference will facilitate increased collaboration in northern New Mexico toward the development of grassroots localization strategies through hands-on action and policy initiatives.
A partial list of speakers includes Helena Norberg-Hodge, director of Local Futures; Winona LaDuke, executive director of Honor the Earth; Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics; Judy Wicks, founder of BALLE; George Ferguson, former mayor of Bristol, England; Craig Childs, author of Apocalyptic Planet, Dr. Larry Dossey, author of One Mind; and Chief Arvol Looking Horse, author of White Buffalo Teachings. Many speakers from New Mexico also are featured.