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April 4, 2014

FHS energy costs reduced 37% in renovated areas

The new, four-story classroom building features lots of windows.
Photo/Fauquier schools
A series of geothermal wells uses groundwater to heat and cool FHS.
Fauquier High School has cut energy costs by more than a third in new and renovated spaces, according to administrators.

Since July, those parts of FHS have operated with energy savings at a projected rate of 37 percent annually.

“At current energy prices, energy costs for the 98,400-square-foot new building addition and renovated media center are approximately $40,000 less per year than the energy cost for an equal area of Fauquier High which has not been renovated,” the school system said Thursday in a press release.

Built in 1965 and expanded in 1979, FHS has undergone renovation since 2011. The total project will cost an estimated $37 million.

Students and teachers occupied the new, four-story classroom addition fronting Waterloo Road in August. Energy efficiency has been a key goal of the renovations, slated for completion this summer. A geothermal heating and cooling system represents a huge part of that effort.

“The primary energy efficiency features of the building addition and renovated media center are the ground source heat pump system, efficient lighting and energy management and lighting automatic control systems,” said Warren Darrell, director of construction for county schools.

Before the renovation and, energy consumption at FHS averaged 70,000 BTU per square foot annually, at a cost of about $1.33 per square foot per year, Mr. Darrell explained.

Since July 2013, the new addition and the renovated media center, built to energy-efficient LEED requirements, have consumed energy at the rate of 44,000 BTU per square foot per year, he added. That represents a 37 percent reduction.

Geo Outlook, a publication of the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, recently published a nine-report, “Fauquier High Moves to Geothermal.”

Time will tell if FHS can sustain the level of energy savings. But, Mr. Darrell hopes that energy consumption per square foot will continue to decrease because some of the construction-related inefficiencies have ended.

“It appears that our new efficient systems will result in considerably reduced energy consumption and cost,” he said. “However, since our new building was only partially occupied until August 2013, we are cautious about the results and will continue to monitor energy consumption and cost.”
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John Green · April 7, 2014 at 7:06 pm
The energy savings only apply to the new classroom building and media center. The rest of FHS still uses the old HAVC system. The energy savings are good news but partially offset by the cost of maintaing the old system. According to School Board numbers it would cost another $8.16 million bring geothermal heating/cooling to Admin., 300, 500, 600, 700 wings, old cafeteria & kitchen area, annex and the older athletic area. The $37 million spent resulted in a partially renovated FHS. John Green
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