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Case Studies: Cedar Rapids Schools

Customer:

Cedar Rapids Community Schools – Cedar Rapids, Iowa

School district serving 1,800 students, encompassing 24 elementary schools, six middle schools and four high schools.

Energy savings:

177,481 kWh annually  

Conservation incentives:

$399,799

Background:

While students were enjoying summer baseball games, afternoons at the swimming pool and family vacations, Alliant Energy and local contractors were busy planning and installing new geothermal heating and cooling systems at four Cedar Rapids Community Schools.

Solution:

The new geothermal systems are designed to heat and cool schools 30-50 percent more efficiently. Each of the schools installed closed-loop geothermal systems ranging from 32 to 588 ton.

The system at Franklin Middle School was retrofitted to replace an older heating unit. The systems at Hoover Elementary and Washington and Jefferson High Schools were added to control temperatures for recent building additions.

In addition to being cost-effective, ground-source heat is a naturally renewable energy source and friendly to the environment.

"Because geothermal systems are stand-alone and burn no fossil fuels, these buildings will reduce demand on the electrical grid, eliminate dependency on natural gas and prevent emissions of air pollutants," said Alliant Energy Account Manager Jan Otto.

Results:

In total, the four schools are expected to save 177,481 kilowatt hours of electricity annually.

This energy savings is equivalent to powering 20 average-sized residential homes for a year. Results like this are significant and over time should allow schools to redirect dollars from utility expenses back into the classroom.

Representatives from Alliant Energy recognized the Cedar Rapids Community School District Board of Directors for their commitment to energy efficiency and presented a rebate check for $399,799 in August 2004.

"The life-cycle cost of geothermal heating and cooling systems is an important economic consideration. Schools must plan for long-term efficiency to maximize their resources," explained Dave Dvorak, building and grounds manager for the Cedar Rapids Community School District. "The savings in energy and operating costs compared to ordinary systems make geothermal an attractive choice for schools."

Recommendation:

"We incorporated geothermal cooling and heating into our schools primarily because of economics," said Dr. Dave Markward, superintendent of the Cedar Rapids Community School District. "Rebate dollars and eventual savings will go a long way in supporting our student's achievements and educational mission."