DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — After winning a $95,000 grant, the Danville Area Community College is getting an upgrade to its environmental energy education by adding geothermal energy training programs.

DACC received the grant from the Illinois Green Economy Network in late September. They now plan to buy equipment to train students in how to repair geothermal units. The units, which can be found in the Danville Campus Tech Center, are highly energy-efficient and use underground water for cooling. The money will also fund training software for diagnostic troubleshooting.

Jonathan Daughtery, a professor in heating and air-conditioning repair at DACC, highlighted the high demand for the unique repair skills.

HVAC Professor Jonathan Daugherty with a geothermal unit – an air conditioner that runs on underground water.

“I’m asked all the time to train students in this field,” he said. “I know of an apartment complex in Danville that has 50 geothermal units that are used to supply air conditioning throughout the building. For students at DACC learning repairs in HVAC, geothermal maintenance would be an additional credential they will have for their future careers.”

The grant was secured through the efforts of DACC’s liaison with IGEN, Brandy Marron. Marron is an agriculture professor at DACC with an affinity for “green technology.” She even introduced an aquaponics demonstration farm to DACC students more than two years ago.

“I appreciate Jonathan’s commitment to exploring geothermal energy as an environmentally-friendly HVAC,” Marron said. “Evidently, too, the IGEN committee was also impressed with Jonathan’s proposal.”

DACC was one of a dozen community colleges to receive the grant out of over 30 applicants.

For more information about DACC’s HVAC program, contact Dean Terri Cummings at 217-443-8786 or DACC’s admissions office at 217-443-3222.