Whether the intent is to set a good example for their students and the community, or to set up a better financial statement, school districts seem to be letting contractors help them with new technologies and control strategies, especially in new buildings - of which there seem to be many these days.
Strong student enrollment has made school construction among the strongest new construction and renovation markets over the last decade, according to Turner Construction. A combination of favorable demographics, green incentives, and the desire to curb energy continues to fuel school interests in capital improvements. These often include school HVAC systems.
30 YEARS IN ALBERTAHoneywell recently announced a $78 million (Canadian) contract with B2L Partnership, which in turn is contracted to the province of Alberta, Canada. Under terms of the contract, the partnership will deliver a Total Asset Management program for 10 new kindergarten through 9th-grade schools in Calgary and Edmonton.
Under the contract’s terms, Honeywell will be responsible for the performance and maintenance of all the facilities over the next 30 years. The company also will design, support, and install the climate control, fire, and security systems in the schools. The facilities are planned to be built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (LEED) Silver certification requirements.
The new contract builds upon a previous Total Asset Management agreement for the construction and upkeep of 18 new LEED Silver-certified schools. Honeywell said it has started to assume maintenance responsibility for several schools that have been completed ahead of schedule.
The program and overarching partnership will provide the Calgary and Edmonton districts with 10 additional facilities at a guaranteed cost below what it would take the province to build the schools and maintain them for 30 years, according to Honeywell.
“We look forward to bringing these green, energy-efficient schools online,” said John Gibson, project director for the government of Alberta, “knowing they will be well maintained for decades to come and have no deferred maintenance at the end.”
SOPHISTICATED MONITORINGThe consortium responsible for the agreement includes financier B2L Partnership, Honeywell, and builder Bird-Graham Schools A Joint Venture. Up front, Honeywell will help design and install the HVAC, fire, and security systems in each school. Then the company will tie these systems together with its Enterprise Buildings Integrator (EBI) platform, which will help achieve the buildings’ LEED Silver certification through monitoring of comfort, air quality, and energy consumption.
Once the new schools are complete, Honeywell will be responsible for comprehensive facility management over the next three decades. This includes service for all mechanical and automation equipment, building envelope repairs, infrastructure upgrades and replacement, and grounds work. The company said it will also look for opportunities to improve energy efficiency and reduce related costs.
By having a monthly fixed-price contract for facility services, the province is expected to lower its typical operating costs for schools. In addition, Honeywell said it guarantees its work through performance indicators outlined in the agreement, including standards for temperature, safety, and response times.
“This agreement builds on our longstanding record of taking care of buildings in Alberta,” said Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. Through on- going maintenance and building systems optimization, “we expect these schools to operate as well after 30 years as they did on day one.”
Construction of the schools is expected to be complete by June 2012. Honeywell said it will start upkeep and maintenance immediately afterward.
PERFORMANCE CONTRACT IN WASHINGTON STATEMeanwhile in Omak, Wash., the Omak School District is implementing an energy-saving performance contract with Schneider Electric, another global specialist in energy management. The $600,000 project, funded with a combination of district capital, utility incentives, and reallocated savings, is anticipated to reduce the district’s energy costs by 15 percent.
Typically, new, more-efficient equipment and upgraded facility automation systems maximize energy efficiency and generate utility savings. Schneider Electric said it guarantees the savings the project will achieve and agrees to pay the difference if that amount is not realized.
The Omak School District serves 1,800 pre-K through 12 students in this northeastern Washington community. The performance contract is designed to alleviate excessive energy use, correct poor lighting quality, and improve temperature control. Energy-conservation measures include upgrading the building management systems; installing new, energy-efficient lighting; and adding lighting controls with occupancy sensors.
The five district buildings targeted by the project are the administration office, the middle and high schools, and two elementary schools. Financing was covered by $200,000 in district capital, $150,000 in utility incentives, and $250,114 in energy savings financing.
“Through this project, the Omak schools will realize a 15 percent reduction in its energy expenses without requiring additional funding from the community,” said Art Himmler, superintendent of the district. “Through utility incentives and unique energy project financing, the district is stretching its limited funds to provide cost savings to the taxpayers while making the learning environment better for its students.”
“Fortunately, most of the cost of the project will come from a reallocation of funds spent on energy and utility rebates, providing needed facility improvements without straining the district’s budget,” said Shon Anderson, vice president, sales, Energy Solutions group of Schneider Electric.
The project also will reduce the school’s carbon emissions by 136 tons annually when the performance contract is completed. This is equivalent to planting 5,458 trees, removing 29 cars from the road, or making 18 households carbon neutral.
For more information, visit www.honeywell.com/buildingsolutions, www.schneider-electric.com, and www.turnerconstruction.com/greensurvey05.pdf
Sidebar: School ProductsFrom the rooftops to the walls, products typical of the school market are reflecting green trends. Carrier Corp. recently introduced its newest WeatherMaster® rooftop units, now with non-ozone-depleting Puron®. This first release of the products includes 3- to 10-ton units with SEERs up to 15.6 and EERs as high as 13.0 in gas heating-electric cooling, electric heating-electric cooling, and cooling-only models. The line will ultimately reach up to 25 tons’ capacity.
The company pointed out that these units were designed to maintain the same cabinet sizes “used as far back as 1988, making them ideal for direct replacements without changing utility connections, roof curbs, or duct sizes,” said Greg Alcorn, vice president of sales and marketing for Carrier Light Commercial Systems.
Functional enhancements include integrated energy-saving single or dual enthalpy economizers, carbon dioxide sensors, demand control ventilation, and return- and supply-air smoke detectors. The units are also designed to aid in reducing service and installation time, with factory-installed options like hinged access panels, louvered hail guards, and the manufacturer’s RTU-Open controller, which provides communication links to third-party building automation systems via BACnet®, Modbus, Johnson Controls N2, and LonWorks® with the same device.
McQuay International just introduced its vertical-stack water-source heat pumps. The newest units are said to be ideal for use in facilities such as senior living facilities, dormitories, apartments, condos, offices, and hotels.
The units are said to provide quiet operation and comfort by minimizing vibration and noise transmission to the cabinet and wall structure with factory-installed vibration isolators, integral to the chassis support rails. In addition, a compressor mass plate minimizes vibration from compressor to chassis; a compressor sound blanket is available for select sizes for noise-sensitive applications. The units feature a footprint of 18-by -8 or 24-by-24 inches and efficiencies up to 15.7 EER.
According to Mike Paquette, product application manager at McQuay International, “They extend our commitment toward meeting market demand for quiet, efficient, and environmentally conscious water-source heat pumps.” Their efficiency, on average, is 30 percent higher than ASHRAE 90.1 minimums for the year 2010, and they exceed minimum thresholds for most utility rebate and incentive programs, the company said. All units use R-410A, and are available in multiple unit sizes from ¾ through 3 tons, 2.6 through 10.6 kW.
The units also are available with McQuay’s MicroTech® III unit controller with OpenChoices™ feature, making them easier to integrate with the building automation system of the user’s choice. LonMark® (LonMark 3.4) and BACnet communication modules are available as factory- or field-installed options. Also available is the T-9000 wireless thermostat, which provides precise temperature control without the labor expense of pulling wire.