The government certification means each building performs in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency and meets strict energy efficiency performance levels set by the EPA.
Through a lengthy application process that scored each building’s energy use on a scale of 1-100, the schools had to achieve a score of 75 or above and be verified by a professional engineer or registered architect in order to qualify.
Frisco ISD’s average ENERGY STAR score for 58 facilities was well above the 75 minimum – at 91.
“Frisco ISD is pleased to accept these certifications in recognition of our energy efficiency efforts,” said Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Lyon. “Through this achievement, we have demonstrated our commitment to environmental stewardship while also lowering our energy costs.”
Buildings that earn EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification use an average of 35 percent less energy than typical buildings and also release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Several factors contributed to Frisco ISD’s ENERGY STAR certifications:
As the fastest growing school district in Texas, Frisco ISD has worked with award-winning architects to maximize energy efficiency in the design of new schools.
- · Buildings are arranged to allow windows in all classroom spaces and clerestory windows allow natural light into corridors.
- · Occupancy sensors turn off lights when spaces are unoccupied and classroom lights are wired to allow flexibility of the number of lamps that are on when the room receives an abundance of natural light.
- · Spray foam insulation is used for the exterior walls to eliminate air infiltration.
- · Projects meet requirements of the City of Frisco’s Green Building Program and EPA’s ENERGY STAR Cool Roof Program.
Geothermal Heat Pump Systems
Frisco ISD has utilized geothermal heat pump systems and energy recovery ventilation in all facilities opening after 2003. That includes 22 elementary schools, nine middle schools, four high schools and two special programs centers. In addition, geothermal systems have been utilized in five District support facilities, 10 school additions and seven campuses currently under construction.
These systems use less energy and are cheaper to maintain than traditional, four-pipe central plant HVAC systems, which FISD used prior to 2003. FISD schools with geothermal systems used significantly less gas and electricity during the 2012-2013 school year than FISD schools with traditional HVAC systems. Based on the total square footage of conditioned space, geothermal systems resulted in the following energy savings when compared to their older counterparts:
- · Elementary schools – 34 percent energy savings
- · Middle schools – 46 percent energy savings
- · High schools – 38 percent energy savings
Energy Management Program
Frisco ISD uses an energy management system utilizing central control of mechanical and electrical systems, as well as accurate data to develop plans to maximize energy conservation in school facilities.
The District has cut electricity bills and qualified for thousands of dollars in energy rebates by converting old lighting systems to newer standards. For example in 2011, FISD replaced all four-foot, 32-watt fluorescent bulbs with 25-watt bulbs at a cost of about $850,000. As a result, the District received about $30,000 in rebates from OnCor Electric and $350,000 from CoServ Electric. The change quickly paid for itself, saving FISD between $50,000-70,000 per month in energy costs.
Story submitted by Meghan Youker