Schools are using on-site renewables like solar to reduce power demand and cut utility bills, but schools are also using less common sources of clean energy like geothermal. In August 2014, George Rogers Clark High School in Winchester, Kentucky, installed a geothermal system.
The geothermal-based chilled water loop combined with SEMCO chilled beams and dedicated outdoor air systems for its heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system.
The building reduced its utility costs by 35 percent and attracted new students in the process. The school’s advanced indoor air quality helped contribute to a district-wide 1.5-percent attendance increase last year, which earned a $200,000 government-awarded attendance incentive.
With 300,000-sq-foot George Rogers Clark is one of the largest high schools in the state. Its energy savings are quite an achievement in light of its size. The George Rogers Clark used less than half the energy of average sized schools(31.9-k/BTU energy use index (EUI) compared to 68-k/BTU EUI).
The Kentucky school district now plans to retrofit another older school with a similar system.
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