District Combines Building Upgrades with Hands-On Learning Experience, Earns Award for Energy Efficiency

- Improvements Expected to Save $217,000 Annually -

Mar 04, 2010, 09:10 ET from Trane

TONGANOXIE, Kan., March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- When administrators at Tonganoxie Unified School District (USD) 464 embarked on a $2.1 million energy and infrastructure improvement effort last year, they took the project into the classroom, coupling upgrades to buildings with an energy efficiency curriculum. The recently completed infrastructure upgrades are expected to save $217,000 a year in operations, maintenance and utilities costs.

As a result of these upgrades, administrators at Tonganoxie USD 464 will receive the Trane "Energy Efficiency Leader in Education Award" for their sustainable energy and operational efficiency improvements. The award recognizes the importance of the upgrades and the administrators' commitment to optimizing the teaching and learning environment while increasing energy efficiency and environmental responsibility.

Details of the award presentation:

  • Keven Ward, education facilities consultant, Trane, will present the award to Kyle Hayden, superintendent, Tonganoxie USD 464.
  • The awards presentation will be at 10 a.m., March 10, during a school assembly in the gymnasium of Tonganoxie Middle School, 824 Washington St., Tonganoxie, Kan. 66086.
  • Ceremony music will be provided by the seventh- and eighth-grade jazz band and the eighth-grade girls' choir.

Upgrades were needed throughout district buildings to improve thermal, visual and acoustic comfort, indoor air quality and aging infrastructure while reducing energy, operational and maintenance expenses. Improvements to the elementary school, the middle school and the district's two high schools as well as to an automated bus route optimization program were launched in February 2009 and completed in August 2009.

In addition, in March 2009, the district worked with Trane, a leading global provider of indoor comfort systems and services, to engage students in making the elementary schools more energy efficient. The BTU Crew™ energy efficiency curriculum offered by Trane was rolled out to the district's sixth graders. The curriculum features in-depth lessons, including a school building energy audit and an assessment of the building's environmental impact.

Students conducted the preliminary energy audit of their school, analyzed the results and got the community involved, writing letters to local legislators. The letters resulted in a visit with Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson and were attached to a state energy bill signed the same day. Because of the students' efforts, the district received the Governor's Energy Achievement Recognition award in 2009.

The project is funded with a performance contract supported by the Kansas statutory fiscal tool K.S.A. 75-37, 125 and the Facility Conservation Improvement Program. A performance contract is an option for funding energy-saving improvements in buildings that provides a method for schools to manage and optimize their energy use, allowing them to leverage the energy use and operational savings to support strategic educational objectives.

"It's been gratifying to complete energy saving improvements that benefit students and teachers while providing our students with a hands-on learning experience," said Hayden. "We've sent a powerful message to our students about the importance of sustainability."

Customized Energy Conservation Measures Selected

Prior to selecting appropriate energy conservation measures for the district, administrators conducted a formal energy audit and building assessment. Based on the findings, administrators selected the energy conservation measures that best met the district's needs for improved energy and operational efficiency.

Upgrades included high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that improved indoor air quality, increased ventilation and made classroom temperatures more comfortable. Also installed were high-performance lighting systems and low-flow plumbing fixtures to conserve water and reduce sewage.

Administrators added more cameras, monitors and digital video recorders to enhance safety, while still reducing energy usage. They installed new software to automate bus route planning to increase bus transportation efficiency and student safety. A district-wide building automation system was incorporated, giving operations staff centralized control of the HVAC systems. Administrators are also working with an educational consultant to develop a long-range master plan for the district.

About Tonganoxie Schools

Tonganoxie USD 464 is located northwest of metropolitan Kansas City, Kan. Its mission is to prepare each student to be a fully productive and caring participant in our changing world with the tools to reach their full potential. For more information, visit: www.tong464.org.

About Trane

Trane, a business of Ingersoll Rand - the world leader in creating and sustaining safe, comfortable and energy efficient environments - improves the performance of homes and buildings around the world. Trane solutions optimize indoor environments with a broad portfolio of energy efficient heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, building and contracting services, parts support and advanced controls for homes and commercial buildings.  For more information, visit www.Trane.com.