EDUCATION

Pepco unveils new sustainability center, energy-saving technology

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As we celebrate Earth Day, Pepco unveiled its own 'Watershed.'

That's the name of a new sustainability center which highlights energy-saving technology that the public can apply in their own homes. The building itself was constructed by University of Maryland students and faculty.

Energy efficiency devices, solar cells, vehicle charging, and battery storage are just a few of the features found under the 'green roof.'

You might recognize the structure. It won first place at the Solar Decathlon in 2011 held on the National Mall.

Scott Tjaden was part of the original University of Maryland team who designed and built this home, aptly named, Watershed.

"The design of the house allows us to capture most of the rain water on our site. That rain water is in condition with native plants trying to mimic the Chesapeake Bay," said Tjaden.

The model home, now has a permanent address in Rockville at the Pepco Service Center. The energy-efficient design will serve as a living classroom and lab, one that Pepco hopes will help its customers.

"We see this as an opportunity to provide customers a chance to come in, touch and feel..talk to people and learn, so these aren't abstract conversations," said Karen Lefkowitz with Pepco Holdings Inc.

The designs are encouraged to inspire; from renewable woods for siding, to a liquid desiccant waterfall, for humidity control.

"This is a lower energy way of removing moisture from the air than traditional air conditioning," said University of Maryland Associate Professor Amy Gardner.

"A host of technologies are coming to the marketplace, and we can demonstrate how they can work together, how we can work them together with our system, and how customers can use them," said Dave Velazquez with Pepco Holdings Inc.

While upfront installation costs may be higher, experts say over time you'll notice significant savings.

The Watershed Sustainability Center will be open to Pepco customers and area students who are learning about eco-friendly practices as part of their curriculum.

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