Walden Kicks Off Energy Efficiency Improvement Study for School in Hudson Valley
Under contract with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Walden has begun an energy efficiency improvement study to help a school in the Hudson Valley reduce their carbon footprint and improve the energy efficiency of their school. The study is primarily funded by NYSERDA through their P-12 Schools: Green and Clean Energy Solutions program.
Scope of Work
The study will include Level 1 energy audit standards, as defined by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), as well as additional components of an energy efficiency study. The study will include a basic walk-through assessment, review of utility bills and other applicable operating data, and interviews with operations staff.
Additionally, the study will include locating poorly insulated areas of the building, investigating installing solar, determining the most efficient heating and cooling system(s) to replace (or reduce the load of) their current boiler, and exploring other possible methods of improving energy efficiency (i.e., upgrading lighting). The heating and cooling system alternatives considered will include geothermal, air source heat pumps (commonly referred to as mini split or multi split systems), a more efficient boiler, or a combination of these.
The school is interested in this study to reduce their carbon footprint and energy expenditures, improve indoor air quality, and replace their oil heating system that is near its end of life.
Review of Existing Information
Walden is analyzing documents collected from the school. Electric bills, heating oil, water, sewer, and other utility-related and available energy consumption documents are being used to determine a breakdown of the school’s utility use and expenditures in the past 24 months. This information will then be used to assist in the evaluation of the best energy efficiency strategies for the site.
Site Visit for Drone Photography
Walden will perform thermal imaging of the building envelope using a drone to determine if/where insulation, air sealing, or both improvements will help. The drone will also be used to help evaluate the roof for solar considerations.
Walden will provide insulation improvement recommendations and estimate the energy efficiency improvement that would result from upgrading the building’s insulation. Potential solutions to improve insulation include sealing air leaks throughout the building and adding insulation material.
To determine if solar is feasible for this site, Walden will:
- Evaluate site specific solar considerations (i.e., grid hookup)
- Estimate the amount of power that could be produced from solar on the site using the software HelioScope
- Develop a cost estimate and funding estimate
- Identify outside funding or other assistance options
- Analyze the cost versus savings, break-even point, and return on investment
HVAC System Improvement
Walden will investigate different heating/cooling improvement possibilities for the site and recommend the best option based on an economic and environmental impact analysis.
Potential solutions considered will include:
- Replacing the boiler with a more efficient boiler
- Replacing the boiler with an air source heat pump system
- Replacing the boiler with a geothermal system
- Using an air source heat pump system alongside the current boiler or a new/improved boiler
Walden will prepare a report that incorporates all components of the scope of work and provides the school and NYSERDA with recommended next steps to improve energy efficiency at the site. The report will meet NYSERDA’s deliverable requirements.
Walden recently completed an initial kickoff meeting with the school as the first step of this study. The final report will be completed by the end of this summer.