Parkway School District Continues Sustainability Leadership with an Investment in Geothermal Energy
June 26, 2019 /3BL Media/ Trane®, a brand of Ingersoll Rand® and global provider of indoor comfort and energy services solutions, and Parkway School District, one of the largest school districts in Missouri, partnered to install the Greater St. Louis area's first on-campus centralized geothermal energy plant, guaranteeing at least $123,000 in total energy savings annually.
Geothermal systems take advantage of the earth’s consistent core temperature as a renewable source of energy through a network of water-filled pipes and deep vertical geothermal wells. The ground keeps the water in the pipes at a relatively constant temperature of approximately 55-57 degrees Fahrenheit, thereby reducing the amount of energy required to produce the desired heating or cooling effect. Heat removed from the building during the summer can be stored underground as a heat sink and recovered during the winter as a heat source. Parkway’s systems work by circulating water in a closed-loop piping system to a depth of roughly 350 feet before distributing it through the central energy plant consisting of heater-chillers and heat exchangers.
"At Parkway we have a long history of integrating sustainable practices into our daily operations and long term building improvements," said Erik Lueders, Sustainability and Purchasing Director for Parkway School District. "We view this system as an investment which generates considerable savings for taxpayers' dollars and as an opportunity to demonstrate Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in action to our students. Implementing these innovative engineering solutions demonstrates our commitment to the students' learning environment and also to doing our part to solve the climate crisis."
Trane and the Parkway School District collaborated on many energy efficiency projects over the past 15 years including LED lighting, roofing insulation, heating and cooling plant infrastructure upgrades and building automation controls across the district in support of the school district's long-held commitment to sustainable technologies. This latest project provides a much-needed energy upgrade at Parkway South High School, the largest school and most significant energy consumer in the district. The school became a prime candidate for a long-term, sustainable solution in 2016 after one of two chillers in its aging chiller plant became non-functional. Trane will modernize the plant with geothermal energy units to reduce its carbon footprint and increase energy efficiency while preserving campus aesthetics and minimizing architectural and acoustical impacts.
"Parkway School District is a recognized leader in sustainability and environmental stewardship, and the Parkway South High School geothermal energy plant is a great example of the district's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Scott Hardwick, energy expert at Trane. "The new geothermal plant will provide both heating and cooling energy and is expandable to meet future demand. As Parkway's energy partner, we are continually exploring the use of renewable and clean energy technologies to increase heating and cooling efficiencies at many of the school district's facilities, which benefits the students, faculty, administration and the entire school community."
The first phase of the central geothermal project is already completed. This second phase of the project, installation of a series of deep vertical geothermal wells and piping to connect to the new energy plant, is expected to be finished in November 2019. Once installed, the geothermal systems will help reduce the district's annual operating budget, putting money back into the classroom and student education.
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