OMAHA, Neb. - The U.S. Department of Energy issued an Energy Star Award to two schools of the Millard Board of Education, the first public schools in the state of Nebraska to receive the energy efficiency recognition. Both schools - Wheeler Elementary and Rohwer Elementary - received a benchmark Energy Star score of 76.

The Dectron Inc., Roswell, Ga., design specified 100 percent outdoor air dehumidification units that incorporated compressors, evaporator/condenser coil, water cooled condenser/DX chiller, hot gas reheat coil, supply and exhaust air blowers, enthalpy wheel, and an on-board control system. The ground-coupled system used heat pumps manufactured by Water Furnace International, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Schemmer Associates Inc., Omaha, an architect/engineering firm, was responsible for the project design. Todd Mack was the engineering team leader.

The outdoor air dehumidification units greatly reduce the cooling and heating load on each classroom heat pump by preconditioning outdoor air using the enthalpy wheel and a refrigeration dehumidification process. According to Mack, it's a true "all geothermal system" because there are no supplementary boilers or electric heaters. The outdoor air dehumidification units operate as heat pumps that recover and provide heat to the geothermal well field, thus recycling the heat of rejection from the dehumidification process.

The Energy Star Award is sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The program recognizes building owners for protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency.

- compiled by Kyle Gargaro

Publication date: 02/07/2005