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Parris Island child-care center part of national report on clean energy

HILTON HEAD, S.C. — An energy-efficient child-care center on one of Beaufort County's military bases was highlighted in a national report released Tuesday touting the use of clean energy.

Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island's Child Development Center was one of four locations in South Carolina featured in "Powering Up America: The Revolution Began Yesterday."

The report by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation of Connecticut focuses on buildings run on clean energy.

The Parris Island center's monthly energy costs are less than $3, the report and military leaders say. That's because of a solar-panel system installed on its roof and nearby parking structures. More than 1,000 panels, which the report described as "virtually maintenance-free," make up the system.

The panels supply nearly all of the 25,775-square-foot building's electricity and hot water. The center, built in 2011 by Jacksonville-based Sauer Inc. at a cost of $8.4 million, cares for about 300 military children each day.

An executive order from President Barack Obama makes solar-panel systems required equipment for federal buildings by 2030. The order seeks to ensure new federal buildings have no yearly net energy consumption and no carbon emissions.

One other building on Parris Island uses a similar solar-panel system. Sacramento-based Vanir Energy designed an 85-panel solar array on the 1st Battalion Mess Hall, powering air conditioning and hot water for the building.

Installed by Greensboro, N.C.-based Central Carolina Air Conditioning in September 2011, the solar panels were part of a pilot program funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.

In addition to the Parris Island buildings, three other Palmetto State locations were highlighted in the report: the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina and homeowners in Aiken; a solar-panel roof on Woodford Town Hall; and a computerized power management system used by the Greenville County School District.

Clean energy sites in Connecticut and Pennsylvania also were cited.

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