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Southeast Arkansas College and Bernhard Illuminate a Sustainable Future at “Flip the Switch” Event

Southeast Arkansas College and Bernhard Illuminate a Sustainable Future at “Flip the Switch” Event

Pine Bluff, Ark. – Southeast Arkansas College (SEARK) and Bernhard joined forces in a groundbreaking “Flip the Switch” Event on Thursday, February 7, 2024, unveiling a cutting-edge Solar Array and Energy Efficiency Upgrades at SEARK’s Welcome Center in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

The highlight of the event was the ceremonial activation of SEARK College’s new solar array, a pivotal component of the institution’s forward-thinking energy plan. Attended by local community members, students, faculty, and media representatives, the event marked a milestone in SEARK’s ongoing efforts to create a more sustainable and resilient campus environment.

“We are genuinely excited to share this moment with SEARK College, featuring a new solar array that marks a significant leap towards a greener and more efficient future,” said Corey Wilson, Bernhard’s vice president of performance. “Bernhard takes pride in the collaboration with SEARK to implement these comprehensive upgrades, including the integration of LED lighting and advanced building automation systems. This initiative signifies SEARK’s vision of fostering a sustainable environment for both students and the broader community.”

The transformative project, made possible in part by a bond issued in 2022, is a significant leap toward modernizing SEARK’s energy infrastructure. As part of SEARK’s commitment to sustainability and efficiency, the plan is expected to generate millions of dollars in energy savings, operation and maintenance savings, and capital savings over the next two decades.

Key components of the project include upgrading the Chilled Water System, replacing pumps at Founder’s Hall and McGeorge, and enhancing air handling units. These initiatives are projected to result in $2,940,816 in Energy Savings and $427,670 in Operation and Maintenance Savings over a 20-year term.

Further enhancements encompass upgrading heating water systems, improving indoor air quality, and implementing advanced security measures campus-wide. These measures are anticipated to result in $8,971,152 in avoided capital savings over a 20-year term.

“This innovative solar array and the comprehensive energy efficiency upgrades are integral to our commitment to sustainability and cost-effectiveness,” said SEARK President Dr. Steven Bloomberg. “It not only propels SEARK towards a greener future but also brings our outdated systems up to date for the foreseeable future. We are excited about the positive impact this will have on our energy consumption and overall campus sustainability.”

About Bernhard 

Bernhard is one of the largest privately-owned infrastructure firms in America, with 100+ years of energy and infrastructure project experience servicing higher education, health care, commercial, and specialty markets. Bernhard combines development, financing, design, construction, and operations to deliver turnkey Energy-as-a-Service solutions that reduce energy use, risk, and cost so that our clients can focus on their everyday work. Headquartered in Metairie, La., Bernhard has more than 2,200 employees in more than 20 office locations across the country. For more information, visit Bernhard.com

About SEARK College: Established by Act 1244 of the 78th General Assembly of the State of Arkansas on April 17, 1991, Southeast Arkansas College (SEARK) is a leading institution dedicated to providing technical, vocational, and adult education programs, industry training, and two-year college transfer programs. Originally known as Pines Vocational-Technical School since 1959, SEARK underwent a significant transformation in 1991, leading to its current status as a pivotal part of the state’s higher education system.

With a mission to offer accessible and responsive educational programs, SEARK caters to diverse segments of the population, facilitating training, retraining, and upgrade training for employment. The institution’s commitment to providing basic, general, and specialized education aligns with the dynamic needs of the modern workplace