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Frisco ISD Schools Earn EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Certification for Superior Energy Efficiency

Mar 31, 2014

ENERGY STARYou’ve seen the label on home appliances. Now look for a decal coming soon to your child’s school.

Nearly 50 Frisco ISD schools and office buildings have earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® certification.

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:

Well-Designed Facilities

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.

Funds allocated in the 2014 bond program would allow Frisco ISD to continue these efforts.

In the area of energy management, nearly $2.5 million is proposed to retrofit all exterior pole lights in school parking lots, wall lights on school exteriors and gym lights at 22 elementary schools, seven middle schools and three high schools. Rebates from CoServ Electric would cover half the cost of the program, with energy savings projected to cover the initial cost of the upgrades in two years.

In addition, bond funds proposed in the area of renovations and updates would convert existing four-pipe central plant HVAC systems to geothermal when systems wear out and where it is feasible, resulting in energy savings over time.

About ENERGY STAR®

  • ENERGY STAR® was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 65 different kinds of products, 1.4 million new homes, and 20,000 commercial buildings and industrial plants that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the EPA. Over the past twenty years, American families and businesses have saved more than $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.8 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions with help from ENERGY STAR. Learn more at www.energystar.gov.
  • To search the ENERGY STAR building registry, visit www.energystar.gov/BuildingList.
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