Old Gregg School Community and Recreation Center is getting a makeover, and it will get some help from the yellow blob in the sky — the sun.
Gregg Township received a $30,000 grant in April from the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund that will go toward a solar domestic hot water system at the 26,000-square-foot facility.
The system will allow the solar panels to receive heat from the sun to help preheat the water, which then goes through an on-demand water heater.
“It doesn’t use as much propane that way,” said building manager and Gregg Township Supervisor Doug Bierly.
On a sunny day, it will heat 100 percent of domestic hot water.
Construction on the project started earlier this summer and is expected to be completed by the end of the month, Bierly said.
The total project cost is $50,000, meaning the community center still needs to dish out another $20,000.
That might sound like a lot, but Bierly said it will save the center about $1,500 a year in energy costs.
“It should be working for about 50 years, and gives us a big payback on investment depending on the price of propane,” Bierly said.
Energy fees usually cost the center about $6,000 a year, Bierly said.
“Energy is our biggest single purchase,” Bierly said.
The Old Gregg School Community and Recreation Center is the former Gregg Township Elementary School, which was vacated by the Penns Valley Area School District in 2007, and is now operated by Gregg Township and the Old Gregg School Advisory Board.
It also offers community and recreation services to the public, and houses businesses and organizations including the Gregg Township municipal offices, Pennsylvania Certified Organic, Penns Valley Community Church and Penns Valley Youth Center.
“We’ve been looking into this for the last couple years and are finally able to execute it,” Bierly said.
West Penn Power Sustainable Energy is a nonprofit that invests in sustainable energy technologies that benefit West Penn Power clients.