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On-site Chiller Plant Gives School District More Than 20 Years of Energy Savings

HVAC upgrades provides long-term savings for school district.

The Sarasota School District in South Florida wanted an air conditioning upgrade that would help meet sustainability goals across campus. The upgrades would have to take into account their long-term impact on the environment and find the right balance between investment, longevity and sustainability.

After much consideration the school district chose a chiller plant with thermal energy storage. That was in 1992. The durable nature of CALMAC’s IceBank energy storage provided a sustainable solution that would not be outdated in a couple of years and required minimal maintenance.

The IceBank tanks are made up of 99% recyclable or reusable material, eliminating contributions to growing landfills. The energy storage tanks are also able to create and store cooling in the form of ice at night when electricity is produced and transmitted most efficiently. The next day the stored cooling is used for cooling during peak demand periods when most inefficient power plants turn on.

Sarasota’s Brookside Middle School was the first facility within the district to implement thermal energy storage but after using the tanks for nearly 10 years the structure was torn down and replaced with a brand new building. Instead of purchasing new tanks, CALMAC refurbished the previous school’s tanks for insertion into the design of the new facility. This enabled the school district to reuse their equipment and reduce the environmental impact of disposing old equipment.

The thermal energy storage tanks have a lifespan of over 30 years and it is because of that the district decided to put them in 36 schools. Three of the schools earned the Energy Star Award from the EPA for operating in the top 25% of schools across the U.S. in responsible energy use. In 2013 alone, the Sarasota School District was able to save over $2 million in energy costs due to the use of thermal energy storage.

The latest energy storage installation at the school district went into use at the beginning of 2014 at the Oak Park School. With this newest addition, the district is now able to achieve a total of 20MW of energy storage.

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