The West-MEC career and technical education district was recently honored for having the 1st certified zero-energy education facility in the state. We asked West-MEC superintendent Greg Donovan about this new, 1st-of-its kind building.
West-MEC is one of 14 different CTD’s across the state of Arizona and works with primarily high school students.
“The ultimate goal is to get students, whether they be high school or adult, on to a career pathway or improved career pathway to be economically viable in the workplace,” Donovan said.
The plans for West-MEC’s zero-energy building started in 2014 with the plan to build an off the grid assembly space that could hold up to 400 people. When West-MEC realized how difficult it would be to create bathrooms that were off grid, they transitioned to a zero-energy building.
The building is primarily run by solar energy from the solar panels that are throughout the campus.
“For two years, we had to document all of the usage, how many events were held there, how many people attended these events, and show that we used a net zero-energy consumption between what we produced and what we utilized,” Donovan said.
The idea is that they are producing, as much, if not more energy than they are using.
We asked what else makes this building stand out for its accomplishments.
“West-MEC is known for its orange facade because we are load and were proud and we don’t paint anything beige,” Donovan said.
Not only is building for show but is also used by the community.
“We have a church that uses it on Sundays,” Donovan said. “We have the city of buckeye who uses it for recreational events. APS has used it for events.”
West-MEC is a school and believes that it should be available to the community to use and experience the power of the zero-energy building.