Hayes Freedom was designed to consume 60% less energy than the current energy code. In fact, if funds are available in the future to purchase additional on-site renewable energy producing technologies, such as solar, the school is designed to be able to generate all of the energy it consumes. Key strategies to accomplish this include:
Classrooms are designed to capture natural daylight and reduce dependence on electric lights. Large windows and skylights bring balanced daylight deep into classrooms. Occupancy sensors, daylight sensors, and a zoned lighting system ensure that energy is not wasted on electric lights when classrooms are empty or day-lit. Used when needed, high-efficiency fluorescent lighting in classrooms consume 10% less energy & last 50% longer than typical lighting.
A high-performance building envelope and high-performance windows reduce the energy needed to maintain a comfortable temperature inside. Did you know that $1 spent to reduce power consumption is worth $10 spent to create the same power via on-site renewable power sources, such as solar?
A central high-efficiency boiler supplies heating water to baseboard radiant panels throughout the school, heat recovery ventilators, and tubing laid into the concrete floors of the commons.
CO2 sensors in the commons save energy by reducing ventilation levels if the space is less than fully occupied.
The building’s heat recovery ventilators analyze whether to reuse the heat from the exhaust air by recovering the energy and mixing it back into the building. The result is that 70% of the exhausted energy is recovered and reused.
The building’s east-west orientation takes advantage of passive strategies to minimize the need for mechanical systems. Classrooms are protected from heat gain along the building’s north side. Spaces along the south face benefit from deep overhangs and sunshades that reduce heat gain in summer, and capture the sun’s warmth during the winter.
Displacement ventilation is where air is introduced at the floor of the room and naturally rises. The students, teacher, lights, and computers are used as a heat source as the air naturally rises moving the contaminants and heat from the classroom to the return grilles high in the room. By doing this, the air quality in the classrooms is generally healthier than a traditional ventilation system which mixes the air as it is distributed in the room. All of this reduces energy usage and increases ventilation effectiveness in the classrooms.
The majority of the roof is sloped to the south to optimize the use of 2,500 square feet of photovoltaic (PV) panels. Clark Public Utilities purchases the electricity the panels create under a Washington State Department of Revenue renewable energy system cost recovery program, while allowing Camas School District to connect to the power grid. A net metering agreement enables Camas School District to draw power when needed and put power in when not needed. The panels’ high-efficiency design produces roughly 16 watts of power per square foot at peak hours. These panels produce up to 40 KW of electricity, which equals 43,200 KW-hours per year, saving $3,100 in electric bills, or enough power to offset 9 typical residences, 86 refrigerators, or 432 computers for one year! Energy efficiency upgrades in the building, such as lighting, solar water heating, and Energy Star appliances are partially funded by incentives from Clark Public Utilities. A solar energy educational program including signage, a solar science kit, teacher training and support, and digital connection to solar energy data is funded by a Solar4RSchools grant from Bonneville Power Foundation.
Some PV panels are mounted on “solar ducts” that pre-heat outside air in the cold months and cool down the PV panels year round. When the panels run cooler, they produce more energy than the same panel mounted above a hot roof.
The sun preheats the domestic hot water system and air before it enters the building. You can see the flat panel solar collectors and the transpired solar collectors, or solar ducts, on the roof.
Re-circulated hot water provides heating at the perimeter of the building. Radiant floor heating warms the commons and allows heat to naturally rise to human height rather than force it downward from ductwork and ceiling grilles.
Staff and students play an active role in the school’s energy performance. Each classroom features multiple environmental controls including a thermostat, ceiling fans, and operable windows. A display connected to the building control system indicates whether windows should be opened or not based on outdoor weather and energy efficiency. Select power outlets are controlled by the room occupancy sensor, enabling staff and students to reduce ‘phantom loads’ by plugging in items (such as PC monitors) that can be switched off automatically when the room is not occupied. Did you know that plug-in loads consume more power than the lighting at Hayes Freedom? What are some ways that you can reduce energy consumption at school and at home?
An LCD display in each classroom shows the real-time energy performance of the room, including total watts consumed by lighting and power outlets at any given time. Can you use less energy than your neighbor?