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Tampa Electric, US Department of Energy form partnership with Hillsborough County public schools

TAMPA, May 27, 1998

Tampa Electric Company today announced that, in cooperation with the United States Department of Energy (DOE), it has entered into a partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools to install and test a new prototype air conditioning system.

The first school to be equipped with the new system is Tampa Bay Technical High School.

The system will be manufactured by Texas-based Munters Corporation. It employs traditional air conditioning technology coupled with a desiccant that removes moisture from the outside ventilation air. Desiccants have long been used in general industry to remove moisture in manufacturing processes.

The desiccant absorbs moisture like a sponge, after which the moisture is removed by heating the desiccant material. In the case of the unit to be installed at Tampa Bay Technical High School, the desiccant is dried with natural gas.

Said Tampa Electric President, John Ramil, "This innovative process will allow existing schools to improve their indoor air quality by increasing outside ventilation to current code requirements without having to increase the size of their existing air conditioning units. It's an approach that should save up to 20 percent of a school's energy costs when compared to traditional air conditioning. Also, it's a wonderful example of how both electricity and natural gas can be used together to deliver greater value to customers."

Said Dr. James Hamilton, assistant superintendent for operations at Hillsborough County Public Schools, "We're hopeful this project provides cost-effective solutions for other indoor air quality problems and energy efficiency opportunities."

The School Board already has approved plans to install and test the desiccant air conditioning system at Tampa Bay Technical High School.

Said Dr. James Sand, research engineer with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory of the Department of Energy, "The Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are pleased to be part of a coordinated research and development effort by Tampa Electric, the Munters Group and Hillsborough County Public Schools. The students and teachers will benefit from a healthy learning environment due to improved indoor air quality."

Added Sand, "Through its participation, the DOE hopes to clearly demonstrate and document that desiccant dehumidification equipment can efficiently and economically meet the ventilation rates prescribed by new building codes."

Larry Klekar, general manager of Munters Corporation's DryCool Division said, "Desiccant systems effectively handle the additional moisture resulting from increased ventilation, without increasing energy cost. We are confident our desiccant make-up air systems offer a solution to indoor air quality problems in schools."

He said increasing ventilation rates in today's classrooms will only improve indoor air quality if the humidity is controlled as well.

Tampa Electric is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy, Inc. TECO Energy is a diversified, energy-related utility holding company also based in Tampa. In addition to Tampa Electric, its principal businesses include TECO Coal, TECO Transport, TECO Coalbed Methane, TECO Power Services, Bosek Gibson & Associates.

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CHERIE JACOBS
TECO Energy, Tampa Electric, Peoples Gas
TECO Energy, Inc.
702 N. Franklin Street
Tampa, Florida 33602
E-mail: cljacobs@tecoenergy.com Email Icon