Kinney Construction Services Inc.

With education budgets still tight, the schools in Sedona can use all the reductions in costs they can get. One way of decreasing electricity costs is tapping the abundant and free resource that surrounds the district through­out the year – sunlight. The Sedona-Oak Creek Unified School Dis­trict is going solar, and Kinney Con­st­ruc­tion Services (KCS) is providing design/build services for the project.

The $4.8 million project is part of the school district’s larger $73.4 million capital bond for improvements to its existing schools. Its goal is to save on the $356,000 the school district currently is paying in utilities by installing photovoltaic systems, a solar hot water system and geothermal technologies.

Originally, the photovoltaic system’s capacity was to be 500 kilowatts (kW). But by obtaining production-based incentives through Arizona Public Service, the KCS design team was able to increase the system’s size to 806 kW at no additional cost to the school district.

Installation of the single-site system began in May 2010 at Sedona Red Rock High School. Located up a hill from the school’s athletic field, it is a ground-mounted, non-tracking, grid-tied electric system. Completion is anticipated in October 2010.

The 3,500-panel system will produce 41 percent of the school district’s overall energy needs. Planned for the future is design and installation of a solar hot water heating system to warm the water in the outdoor pool at West Sedona School. A domestic solar hot water heating system will be installed to heat water for the school building.

Additionally, a geothermal system and a photovoltaic system will be installed for the school district’s new office that currently is under construction.

Community Input

These progressive alternative energy projects were initiated with community involvement. “Sedona is a place where the community is very interested in what’s going on construction-wise, and even more so with a project like this,” President and CEO Tim Kinney says, who also is a LEED-accredited professional.

“We had several community forums or meetings where members of the community would come and we would talk with them one-on-one and answer their questions and make sure everybody was comfortable with the path we were going down for the project,” Kinney reports. 

“They have a great community down there with people who want to be involved and know what’s going on with their community.”

Highlands Fire District

Another KCS project completed in June 2010 was the new $3.3 million Fire Station No. 23 for the Highlands Fire District in Flagstaff, Ariz. Functioning as construction manager at risk for the 10,452-square-foot station, KCS constructed a kitchen, dining and day room; dormitories; exercising rooms; app­aratus bays; inpatient treatment; locker rooms; and crew/captain offices. Construc­tion of the station, which won an advanced award for sustainability from Coconino County, began in October 2009.

Green features included in the station are a solar domestic hot water system with a storage capacity of approximately 220 gallons; a roof-mounted 8.9 kW photovoltaic system; and motion-activated lighting and daylight harvesting throughout the building to adjust the light intensity of the interior.

A gray water system was installed to store water from sinks and showers for irrigation on the property. Additionally, natural cotton-fiber bat insulation made from 90 percent post-consumer recycled natural fibers was used on the interior. Because most of the fiber is extracted from recycled blue jeans, the insulation is a vibrant, indigo blue color.

The terrazzo-style ground concrete finish floor used throughout the main corridor is economical in materials and labor costs. It also creates a thermal flywheel effect that stabilizes the temperature of the building and absorbs excess humidity simultaneously.

This reduces the amount of heating and cooling necessary during peak months. It also usually needs less maintenance and repair than other coverings and often is produced locally. This reduces fossil fuels and carbon emissions in transportation.

Alternative Energy Expert

Founded in 1999, KCS specializes in commercial general contracting, civil construction, renewable energy and green building in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. Its energy division focuses on solar and wind energy, organic waste diversion and water harvesting.

Other solar projects KCS has done inc­lude Payson Unified School District (1.47 MW); Bullhead City, Ariz. (50.4 kW); NAIPTA Verde Valley transit facility (15 kW); and the Museum of Northern Arizona Easton Collection Center (13kW).

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