While a robust curriculum, modern textbooks and a dedicated teaching staff are critical to a positive learning environment for students of all ages, other factors such as indoor air quality and lighting quality can influence a child’s ability to learn. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air quality (IAQ) has been shown to have a direct correlation to student success, and educational improvement has been attributed to better lighting quality by many studies.
IAQ is the air quality within and around buildings such as schools. IAQ is linked to productivity and learning, and affects the health, comfort and well-being of students, teachers and administrators. Poor IAQ can be attributed to a variety of factors, most notably underperforming heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. Addressing poor ventilation, filtration and related issues in systems are a good first step at improving IAQ for facilities. Often, replacement of HVAC systems presents an opportunity to replace ceilings and lighting in classrooms and corridors within the building.
This specific situation presented itself to the administrators at the Eastern Lebanon County School District (ELCO). Eastern Lebanon High School, home to nearly 1,000 students in grades 9-12, had not had a major HVAC renovation since 1991 and was not performing to meet the IAQ, lighting level and efficiency needs of the school. District administration looked to the energy engineers and construction team at Reynolds to provide upgrades at the school through an energy savings program.
In the summer of 2019, Reynolds worked with the district to implement energy-savings upgrades at the high school that would not only have a positive impact on the IAQ and lighting levels, but also provide long-term energy savings. As part of an $11 million Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement (GESA) project at the Eastern Lebanon High School, Reynolds installed dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) units, installed new vertical fan coil units in every classroom, replaced air handling units, replaced boilers and a chiller, performed light-emitting diode (LED) lighting upgrades, replaced the ceiling, and installed a new emergency generator.
These improvements will help control humidity and temperature, providing preventative measures to maintain a healthy indoor air quality for school occupants. The LED upgrades to lighting systems and ceiling replacement provided for brighter and more inviting learning environments. In addition, the improvements will help the district save approximately $55,000 a year on utility and energy costs.
“When we work with a school district to help them improve the learning environment, our goal is twofold,” says Michael Conchilla, Vice President of Energy Services at Reynolds. “First, we want to ensure the building is safe, healthy and comfortable. Second, we work to find ways for the district to save on utility and energy costs so they can reallocate the savings to programs that improve overall education initiatives. At ELCO, we were able to do both, and are proud to continue working with the District on other projects,” Conchilla continued.
Phase one of the project at ELCO was completed in August 2019 in time for students to return to school. Phase two of the project, which is scheduled for the summer of 2020, features additional upgrades and renovations at the high school including new natural gas piping, condensing boilers, additional LED lighting, domestic water valves and booster pumps, among others. Planned improvements also include a new security vestibule. ELCO is also using the procurement method to provide limited architectural improvements to casework and flooring in some classrooms, as well as some program revisions to limited space.
If your school or business is interested in learning more about how to improve the indoor air quality of your facilities while also saving money on overall utility and energy costs, reach out today to start the discussion.
About Reynolds Powered by SitelogIQ
Reynolds is a full-service building solutions provider offering construction, construction management, hybrid construction, restoration, energy, and commissioning and engineering services. Reynolds works with clients in a variety of industries including K12, commercial and industrial, healthcare, higher education, government, hospitality and transportation.
Reynolds is a partner organization with SitelogIQ, a national full-service facility design, engineering, construction, management, energy, and lighting solutions company dedicated to creating healthy, efficient indoor environments that promote productivity and improved experiences. Reynolds will be fully integrated into SitelogIQ in January 2020. Learn more about the transition to SitelogIQ.