MEP Engineering Blog

Green Design for Whitmore Lake Public Schools

Posted by Ginger Greager

May 28, 2014 10:48:00 AM

Sustainable Design for Whitmore Lake High School, Whitmore Lake, Michigan

Whitmore Lake’s new high school is a model for sustainable design and innovation.  District personnel and school board members provided guiding vision and commitment, and maintained close involvement with the design team throughout the project.  The combined efforts of the team delivered a LEED® Silver rating for the project from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Whitmore Lake’s new high school is a model for sustainable design and innovation. District personnel and school board members provided guiding vision and commitment, and maintained close involvement with the design team throughout the project. The combined efforts of the team delivered a LEED® Silver rating for the project from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The building’s heating and cooling needs are served completely by a geothermal water source heat pump system consisting of nearly 47 miles of piping, approximately one third of which is located in a pond.  Each space in the building is provided with a measured quantity of outside air, which is pretreated by dedicated energy recovery units to minimize the impact of the outside air load on the space tempering equipment.  Every classroom has independent temperature control through a water source heat pump which operates in conjunction with space temperature and CO2 sensors to maintain a properly ventilated space within the design temperature range.  Calculations show an estimated annual energy savings of over $80,000 per year in operating over conventional systems for this building.

Maintenance personnel also had input into the locations of mechanical system components; for ease of maintainability nearly all equipment is located in indoor spaces.  Care was taken in placing these mechanical spaces relative to the proximity of those spaces they serve to reduce delivery cost by reducing required fan energy and ductwork.  Additionally, all ceiling spaces are return air plenums, which eliminated the need to insulate the ductwork, further reducing first cost.

Because the facility was constructed in a rural farm field, on-site storm water retention and a water supply for the fire protection system were required.  A pond was designed to meet these two needs, also providing the opportunity to use the water as a portion of the heat sink/source for the geothermal field.  An area was created along the pond shore for an outdoor education area for student use and observation.

Awards

  • 2010 ASHRAE Technology Award 2nd Place New Institutional Buildings
  • 2007 ESD Design and Construction Award
  • PM Engineer Excellence in Design Award - Honorable Mention

Topics: K-12

   

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