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Mooseheart received a check for $18,110 for its participation in Nicor Gas Company's Energy Efficiency Program. From left are Moose International CEO Scott Hart, Mooseheart Facilities Director Keith Strutz, Mooseheart Executive Director Gary Urwiler, Nicor Gas Company President Beth Reese and Nicor and AGL Resources Vice President of Energy Efficiency Kevin Kirby.
Mooseheart Executive Director Gary Urwiler and Nicor Gas Company President Beth Reese discuss steam traps. Through its participation in Nicor's Energy Efficiency Program, Mooseheart was able to survey its 217 steam traps, highlight 116 which needed repair or replacement, and then have those repairs or replacements made.
Mooseheart Executive Director Gary Urwiler thanks Nicor Gas Company for its ongoing support of Mooseheart Child City & School. That support included a volunteer day at Mooseheart in May in which 100 Nicor employees participated.
MOOSEHEART, IL Nov. 19 – They're not the most exciting things to look at, steam traps – small blue devices that resemble a mini-diving helmet from the days when deep sea divers wore such things.
But these devices, which fit in an adult's hand, are critical to effective energy usage – and on the 1,000-acre Mooseheart campus, the fact that nearly half the 217 steam traps needed to be replaced was a serious matter, both in terms of replacement cost and inefficient energy usage.
All defective steam traps have been repaired or replaced – and Mooseheart has the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program to thank.
On Tuesday (Nov. 19), Mooseheart Executive Director Gary Urwiler received a check for $18,110 from Nicor Gas President Beth Reese representing money received by Mooseheart through Nicor's Energy Efficiency Program. Through that program, Mooseheart was able to survey its 217 steam traps and highlight 116 faulty devices. Those repaired and replaced devices – at a cost of $43,429 - are projected by Nicor to help Mooseheart realize $5,175 in energy savings in the first year after replacement alone.
"We serve 2.2 million customers in northern Illinois and we're really proud that Mooseheart is one," Reese said. "Natural gas provides more than just warmth and heat to keep us warm on these chilly winter days. It provides us for opportunities to invest in and to support the local economy."
A steam trap allows steam heat to travel through the on-campus piping system. The steam travels through the trap and moves further through the pipes. Faulty steam traps allow that steam to be lost.
"Basically, the steam trap allows the steam to keep going through the pipes so once it's produced by the boilers, it keeps going," Reese said. "If these traps fail, they let out steam and the boiler is less efficient."
Urwiler said he and Mooseheart Facilities Director Keith Strutz began talking about the need to begin steam trap replacement earlier this year.
"When you talk about Mooseheart and it being around for 100 years, our infrastructure is something that we definitely have to consider every year," Urwiler said. "With the budget, and the chance to have cost savings such as this with issues such as steam traps, it is beneficial."
Keeping Mooseheart's infrastructure in good shape is important, Urwiler said, because the money that is saved is budgeted money that can be spent on housing and clothing Mooseheart's children.
"Many of our people want to give to kids and they fail to see how they can save money through energy efficient ways," Urwiler said. "This is a great example for us to publicize how these opportunities can give us a cost savings and allow us to give our students more of what they need."
Nicor has a multi-year relationship with Mooseheart and 100 of the company's employees participated in a spring campus cleanup, which included general cleaning, painting, flower planting and mulching. This fall, Nicor conducted a workshop on Mooseheart's campus.
"It was a very nice activity when we met (Nicor) here on that volunteer day," Urwiler said. "You never know what to expect with a volunteer day. We fell in love with the volunteers right away because they had a sense of humor. It was really a relaxed environment and (Nicor) came out with some manpower that was especially needed."
Through that relationship, Mooseheart participated in Nicor's Business Energy Efficiency Rebate Program. The steam trap survey was conducted by Energy Conservation Partners of Hawthorn Woods. The repair and replacement work was performed by Mechanical Inc. of Freeport, IL.
"Through the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program, we're able to provide tips, tools, incentives and rebates to help our customers save energy and money," Kevin Kirby, Vice President of Energy Efficiency for both Nicor and its parent company AGL Resources, said.