Green Schools in New Orleans: Seed Schools

THE PROJECT

The Green Seed Schools program was the first component of the Green Schools Initiative in New Orleans. Four schools were selected and designated as Green Seed Schools: A.P. Tureaud Elementary School, The International School, Dr. Martin Luther King Elementary School, and Gentilly Terrace Elementary School. Each school received up to $75,000 in grant funds toward energy audits, technical assistance, and improvements to increase energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and if feasible, create on-site renewable energy generation.

GREEN SEED SCHOOL #1: A.P TUREAUD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

A.P. Tureaud Elementary School is the first Green Seed School selected and completed by Global Green. It is located in the Seventh Ward and it was designed by E.A. Christy and constructed in 1939.

An energy audit conducted in June 2007 determined that the building is ranked in the bottom 29th percentile for energy performance with a total of 530,331 KWh of electricity and 9,271 ccf of natural gas used annually (combined Btu of 2,765,859,803). This amount of energy usage translates into nearly $80,000 per year in utility expenses. The carbon dioxide emissions were also estimated to be 15.8% higher than an industry average facility.

The Global Green upgrades will save the school an estimated $26,588 in utility costs and reduce the carbon emissions by 220,216 lbs annually. This investment will pay for itself in approximately 2.5 years. In order to achieve these savings, Global Green enacted the following:

  • Solar shades were installed in classrooms to help control solar heat gain, reduce glare, and improve natural lighting within the classrooms.
  • Occupancy sensors were also installed in each classroom to reduce the length of time lights are left on when classrooms are unoccupied. During the energy audit, it was observed that approximately 75% of the lights remained on throughout the evening hours when the classrooms were unoccupied. This simple retrofit can reduce annual lighting needs by 25% or more with an utility cost savings of approximately $9000 annually.
  • All incandescent light bulbs were replaced with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) with the assistance of Green Light New Orleans volunteers.
  • Doors and windows were caulked and weatherstripped to reduce air leakage into the school and missing window panes were also replaced.
  • In addition, Global Green took the extra step to negotiate with the building automation company to inspect the system which controls the HVAC equipment and ensure that the thermostat set points are adjusted based on current occupancy loads and seasonal schedules.
     

In addition to implementing these green upgrades, Global Green identified strategies that can be incorporated into routine custodial and maintenance practices at little or no cost. Some of these strategies include making sure lighting systems, office equipment, and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning equipment is turned off or in energy saving modes during weekends and extended holiday periods; closing windows when heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning equipment are operating; changing filters each month and inspecting the boilers each quarter for safety as well as efficiency. 

GREEN SEED SCHOOL #2: THE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

The International School, formerly known as the Andrew Jackson Elementary School, is the second Green Seed School selected and completed by Global Green. The 82-year old school is located in the Lower Garden District, and like A.P. Tureaud Elementary School, was also designed by A.E. Christy.

Utility data was collected from August 2006 until August 2007 and an energy audit was performed to guide the green energy efficient upgrades. Analysis of the utility bills showed the electrical consumption to be 552,800 KWh and the natural gas consumption to be 3,527 ccf annually (combined Btu of 2,253,000,000). The combined energy cost for this annual period was $69,908.

The Global Green upgrades will save the school an estimated $21,781 in utility costs and reduce the carbon emissions by 177,109 lbs annually. This investment will pay for itself in approximately 3.5 years. In order to achieve these savings, Global Green enacted the following:

  • Higher wattage fluorescent lamps were replaced with lower wattage fluorescent lamps, thus reducing the wattage and energy used while still providing the same light output. In addition light fixtures in the Library Annex were replaced with more energy efficient light fixtures that require fewer fluorescent lamps and provide more light output.
  • Solar shades were installed in all East, West, and South facing classrooms to reduce solar heat gain, reduce glare, and improve natural lighting within the classrooms.
  • Occupancy sensors were installed in all classrooms and will reduce the length of time lights are left on when classrooms are unoccupied, especially from 7:00 pm to 6:30 am.
  • A radiant barrier water heater blanket was also installed on a 38-gallon natural gas water heater that feeds hot water to the kitchen. This easy green retrofit insulates the water in the tank so it stays hot longer and reduces the amount of energy needed to heat the water.
  • In addition, a rainwater cistern was installed at the site of the future arts and music facility to be used as an educational tool to teach students about water use and conservation. This 1500 gallon cistern will be used to capture and filter rainwater for the irrigation of nearby green spaces, raised garden beds, and fruit trees.

In addition to implementing these green upgrades, Global Green identified strategies that can be incorporated into routine custodial and maintenance practices at little or no cost. Some of these strategies include having window shades drawn down on the East side of the building during the morning and on the West side of the building during the afternoon; training the staff, particularly the custodial staff, to turn off lights in unoccupied areas such as the hallways and the cafeteria after school hours; and ensuring that the thermostat set points for the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning equipment is adjusted properly based on the seasons and occupancy levels. 

GREEN SEED SCHOOL #3: DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Dr. Martin Luther King Elementary School is the third Green Seed School selected and completed by Global Green. It is located in the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood, a targeted recovery neighborhood. It was constructed in 2003 and was severely flooded during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Most of the school was renovated and reopened in 2007.

Utility data was collected covering the months of June 2007 until May 2008 and an energy audit was performed to guide the energy efficient upgrades. Analysis of the utility bills showed the electrical consumption to be 1,425,500 kWh and the natural gas consumption to be 2,593 ccf annually (combined Btu of 5,134,903,500). The combined energy cost for this annual period was 124,240.

The Global Green upgrades will save the school an estimated $21,781 in utility costs and reduce the carbon emissions by 174,550 lbs annually. This investment will pay for itself in approximately 3.5 years. In order to achieve these savings, Global Green enacted the following energy saving strategies:

  • Higher wattage fluorescent lamps were replaced with lower wattage fluorescent lamps, thus reducing the wattage and energy used while still providing the same light output.
  • Some light fixtures were replaced with more energy efficient light fixtures that require fewer fluorescent lamps and provide more light output.
  • Quartz light fixtures in the cafeteria/auditorium were replaced with LED recessed light fixtures.
  • All light fixture lenses were cleaned and missing reflectors were replaced.
  • Occupancy sensors were installed in all classrooms and will reduce the length of time lights are left on when classrooms are unoccupied, especially from 7:00 pm to 6:30 am.
  • Daylight sensors were installed on light fixtures in the foyer and interior and exterior stairwells which get a lot of natural light.
  • Gaps around penetrations in the roof and foundation were weather-sealed.

In addition to implementing these green upgrades, Global Green identified strategies that can be incorporated into routine custodial and maintenance practices at little or no cost. Some of these strategies include having window shades drawn down on the east side of the building during the morning and on the west side of the building during the afternoon; training the staff, particularly the custodial staff, to turn off lights in unoccupied areas such as the hallways and the cafeteria after school hour, and close windows when heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment is operating.

During the energy audit, it was discovered that the building automation system was not fully operational. Heating and cooling set points were not entered into the building automation system for some zones in the school. As a result, the facilities managers would have to manually turn on and off the heating and cooling in these areas upon request. Global Green determined that this was something that could easily be fixed by the building automation company for no additional fee.

GREEN SEED SCHOOL #4: GENTILLY TERRACE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Gentilly Terrace Elementary School is the fourth and final Green Seed School selected and completed by Global Green. It is located in the Gentilly Terrace neighborhood, a targeted recovery neighborhood. It was designed by E.A. Christy and constructed in 1914.

Utility data was collected covering the months of April 2007 until December 2008 and an energy audit was performed to guide the energy efficient upgrades. Analysis of the utility bills showed the electrical consumption to be 528,000 KWh and the natural gas consumption to be 8,688 ccf annually (combined Btu of 2,705,616,000). The combined energy cost for this annual period was $72,773.

The Global Green upgrades will save the school an estimated $24,021 in utility costs and reduce the carbon emissions by 195,335 lbs annually. This investment will pay for itself in approximately 3.1 years. In order to achieve these savings, Global Green enacted the following energy saving strategies:

  • Higher wattage fluorescent lamps were replaced with lower wattage fluorescent lamps, thus reducing the wattage and energy used while still providing the same light output.
  • Some light fixtures were replaced with more energy efficient light fixtures that require fewer fluorescent lamps and provide more light output.
  • Occupancy sensors were installed in all classrooms and will reduce the length of time lights are left on when classrooms are unoccupied, especially from 7:00 pm to 6:30 am.
  • Daylight sensors were installed on light fixtures in the interior hallway which get a lot of natural light.
  • Solar shades were installed in all windows except for the interior hallway windows to reduce solar heat gain, reduce glare, and improve natural lighting within classrooms and offices.
  • The programmable thermostats that control the HVAC system for the cafeteria were reset by switching them from “fan-on” mode to “fan-auto” mode". Also, the cooling and heating set points were adjusted to levels appropriate for occupancy loads and seasonal schedules.

In addition to implementing these green upgrades, Global Green identified strategies that can be incorporated into routine custodial and maintenance practices at little or no cost. Some of these strategies include having window shades drawn down on the east side of the building during the morning and on the west side of the building during the afternoon; training the staff, particularly the custodial staff, to turn off lights in unoccupied areas such as the hallways and the cafeteria after school hours; and ensuring that filters for the HVAC systems are changed routinely so that the systems run more efficiently.

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Green Schools Presentation

State and Local Policy Possibilities