Rockhurst High School
Rockhurst High School has made its most significant commitment yet to reducing its impact on climate change by installing Kansas City’s largest photovoltaic solar system, announced Rev. Terrence Baum, SJ, school president. “We all have a responsibility to do our part to reduce CO2 and the damage it is causing in our atmosphere,” Baum said. “As a Jesuit high school committed to social justice, our solar installation combines our global environmental responsibility with a fiscal accountability to our school. This decision is a win/win for both.”
The 50-kilowatt, 220-panel system was designed and installed by Brightergy Solar, a local, renewable energy company. Adam Blake, one of the company’s owners,is a 2003 graduate of Rockhurst and a contributor to the project costs.
“As a Rockhurst alum, I am excited to support my alma mater in taking a leadership role in moving away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy,” said Blake. “My hope is more schools and businesses will consider greener, energy options.” The 34-acre campus includes 275,000-square-feet of classroom and office space, with a 900-person capacity theatre, a chapel and two gyms. The new solar system will produce 67,500 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is the carbon-reducing equivalent to planting 240 trees per year, or eliminating five households of power per year or taking 20 cars off the road for 30 years. The school expects to save a minimum of $7,000 this year in energy costs, with additional annual savings as energy costs rise.
The solar installation is part of a strategic plan to retrofit the Rockhurst campus buildings to be more energy efficient. This includes reductions in energy used for lighting, water and heating/cooling systems. Rockhurst (www.rockhursths.edu) serves 1,060 students from a diverse population across the metro area. It is the only all-male, Catholic, Jesuit, college preparatory high school in Kansas City. Brightergy Solar is a privately held company, founded in 2003 as The Energy Savings Store, and purchased and reorganized in 2010 by Blake. Brightergy is the region’s leading solar energy installation company with hundreds of other installations, including residential and corporate solar and wind systems.