Morrison Residence Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill was closed in the spring of 2005 for renovation. When it reopens in the fall of 2007, not only will students’ accommodations be nicer, but solar panels will be used to heat the building’s water.
While many campus activists and administrators are excited about the project, the solar heating system is financially inefficient.
The new Morrison Hall will have about 200 solar panels placed on the roof and their energy will heat about 60 percent of the building’s hot water. From that, a saving of $11,275 annually is projected.
The solar hot water system is funded by a $137,455 grant from the state legislature, $184,000 from student fees, and $125,000 from University housing and residential education funds. The project was originally anticipated to cost $309,000, but estimates are now as high as $446,000.