Officials break ground on energy innovation center in Tifton - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Officials break ground on energy innovation center in Tifton

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

TIFTON, GA (WALB) –Officials in Tifton broke ground today on what they call the first building of its kind in the nation.

It's part of the Agriculture Energy Innovation Center and it will help farmers become more efficient. It could also eventually save you money.

The first building on the site will be a net-zero-energy farm, home and lab, which will house graduate students and provide a site for Kindergarten through High School students to come and learn. Officials say the whole project is all about energy efficiency and innovation

Farmers, growers and researchers are constantly looking at ways to make things more efficient and consumer friendly.

"Every barrel of oil we displace with renewable energy we produce means we are shipping less money overseas and more money goes into own economy," said Joe West Assistant Dean UGA's Tifton Campus.

As a part of a one million dollar federal grant, officials at Tifton's UGA campus broke ground today on the first phase of the Agricultural Innovation Center.

"This will be the only one of its kind in the nation but we hope the nation will benefit from its experiments," said Congressman Jack Kingston.

Phase one of the project will be a farm house, which will house graduate students and provide a site for K-12 students to come and learn.

"It will be dynamic people coming and going. They will be working on these programs and gain experience and have the opportunity to live here on campus as well," said West.

The home will be a research and education home designed to test ideas, host group educational tours and showcase innovative ways to improve energy efficiency, production and use in the home.

And it will return more energy than it uses because of advanced technologies.

The farm house will be built by students at Moultrie Technical College. "They are starting a green building project so their students will be involved with the construction of the facility and they will learn the techniques associated with building a house like this," said West.

The entire center will be built using environmentally friendly construction material, and even include an edible landscape, with plants trees and crops you can eat.

For the next phase of the project officials are proposing funding for a research facility which they plan on naming barrel, because they are saving barrels. It stands for bio fuel and renewable energy laboratory and if it comes to pass it will be built adjacent to the farm house.

The plan is to get started on that project sometime in the fall or early next year.

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