Lumbee River EMC Goes ‘Net-Positive’
In January, Lumbee River EMC moved into a new operations center in Raeford. The facility improves efficiency for the cooperative and its members by allowing the staffs from two smaller locations to work under the same roof. Hours of operation at the Raeford location have been expanded, and service response time will improve.
What the cooperative’s members may not notice, however, is the cutting-edge technology the facility uses to make it “net-positive,” meaning at times it may generate more electricity than it uses.
“To our knowledge, that facility is the only net-positive facility currently being utilized by an electric utility in the country,” says Walter White, Lumbee River EMC director of marketing and economic development.
The main source of power for the facility is an array of solar panels, mounted on the building’s roof. In order to trim how much of that electricity the building consumes, the major core electric systems are highly efficient, utilizing technology such as solar thermal water heating, a geothermal HVAC system and LED lighting throughout.
“We are able to use this facility as a learning lab, not only for ourselves, but for those who are considering using these various technologies,” Lumbee River EMC president and CEO Steven Con Hunt says. “Our goal as an organization is to develop the knowledge needed and implement plans to make out cooperative the absolute ‘go to’ source for all our members’ energy needs.”