Industry News

The Grass Is Always Greener on the Greener Side


Educational facilities across the country are going green. Recycling clubs, organic gardens, green roofs and sustainable dining programs are becoming campus staples. More and more institutions are adopting environmentally conscious practices and technologies for a simple reason: to minimize operational costs in order to maximize the educational experience.

Here are some of the ways that sustainable HVAC solutions benefit educational facilities:

  1. Cost Savings. When school is in session, cooling and heating systems provide a comfortable learning environment. When school is not in session, the systems safeguard the building from the damaging effects from extreme heat, freezing temperatures and excessive humidity. With an energy-efficient HVAC system, all of this is done at a reduced cost. When Falmouth Elementary School, Stafford, Virginia, installed our VRF zoning systems, their operating costs decreased by 40 percent and their energy costs fell by 25 percent – a savings of $70,000 per year.
  2. Utility Rebates. Many utility companies offer financial incentives for purchasing qualified energy-efficient systems. Our VRF solutions have contributed to astounding utility rebates for a number of commercial projects – Towson City Center got back $421,999; Union Mill, $164,258; 909 Kapiolani, $70,000; Residence Inn® by Marriott®, $27,000.
  3. Tax Incentives. The Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction (Section 179D) is a deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot for companies designing or renovating energy-efficient buildings for the government. Participating schools have received free energy assessments and been able to offer designers and contractors a potential tax deduction for their sustainable design solutions.

The Hollis Montessori School, Hollis, New Hampshire, is a good model for how an educational facility can improve energy efficiency with an environmentally friendly HVAC solution and, in turn, improve its students’ educational experience. Our H2i® system creates not only a healthy environment in which the students can learn but an unparalleled academic experience. Teachers incorporate the building’s energy usage into lessons and students are encouraged to interact with the system’s monitoring equipment. As far as the savings go, Hollis Montessori School’s annual electricity bill is just $4,500 – an 85 percent energy savings, says the school’s energy consultant. The school has an even bigger achievement to tout – it’s the first independent school in the country to earn Passive House certification.