Reducing distractions and increasing energy efficiency at Rogue River School District 35

Representatives from Rogue River Junior/Senior High School at a "big check" ceremony with Energy Trust representatives.Students and teachers experience enough demands on their time and attention each weekday without having to worry about their school’s HVAC system. However, at Rogue River Junior/Senior High School, the gentle rumble of pipes was a clue that comfort was making its way down the hall to the nearest exit.

In years gone-by, Rogue River Junior/Senior High School’s pneumatic HVAC control system was considered state-of-the-art, however by 2018, Rogue River School District 35 saw an opportunity to do better for the students in their community.

The district issued an RFP for HVAC upgrades, and community-based funding was raised through a bond. Energy Trust of Oregon, in cooperation with allied technical assistance contractor, SOLARC Energy Group, identified qualifying equipment upgrades. Meanwhile, facilities staff ensured that the proposed work and timeline would not disrupt the learning environment. The project took off when the district learned how Energy Trust incentives would help offset equipment costs.

Summer break—when students were out of the building—was a perfect time to retrofit all of the site’s zonal pneumatic controls with DDC, specifically retrofitting the constant-flow hot water system to variable flow. The new system’s advanced programming allows equipment to be scheduled for usage instead of manually turned on and off. The upgrades qualified for an Energy Trust incentive of $164,100 and have enabled the district to save $48,850 on their annual gas and electric bills. These savings equate to 350,580 kWh and 29,950 therms, annually.

“Programmable equipment saves even more time for our busy maintenance team and creates more consistently comfortable learning spaces for our students,” said district business manager, Don Sweeney. “Rumbling pipes are now a distant memory.” Since the equipment is no longer constantly operating at full-speed, facilities staff can refocus their time otherwise spent on maintenance. These new DDCs save energy, as they require less pumping power than the old pneumatic controls—reducing the district’s bottom line.

Energy Trust helps K-12 schools, like those in Rogue River School District 35, offset project costs with energy efficiency incentives. These savings can go back into the school and community for future energy efficiency projects, such as LED lighting upgrades. When you’re working with local school districts, remember to bring us in. We can help you find ways to save energy and money, while also fostering a safer and more welcoming environment for students.

 For more information contact Christina Skellenger, outreach manager, Existing Buildings, at 503.320.4617.