Energy-Saving Installations at New Florida Middle School

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) is replacing Westridge Middle School in Orlando, Fla., and recently signed a contract for the installation of energy saving-equipment that will eventually save the school millions of dollars.

The 171,972-square-foot school will feature a three-story classroom building, two-story administration and media center, new music and band rooms, dance studios and a three-story atrium. Westridge currently shows enrollment at 1,078 but is expected to reach capacity at 1,215 after renovations.

Following completion of the new school in October 2012, the existing facility will function as a swing school for a nearby elementary school. After the swing school year, the old building will be demolished and replaced with a track and outdoor fields.

The $27 million construction project is led by Charles Perry Partners Inc. and started during summer 2011. The company has constructed more than 30 LEED projects and installed numerous energy thermal tanks. It counts more than 50 LEED-accredited professionals on staff.

Shaw Mechanical Services LLC, an Orlando, Fla.-based company, along with three other Florida-based companies — Charles Perry Partners, Zyscovich Architects and SGM Engineering — have partnered together to bring 400 tons of energy saving installations to Westridge.

The system consists of 15 ice storage tanks, or energy thermal tanks, that serve as a source for conserved energy. The ice storage operates by using the chiller during off-peak nighttime hours in order to run the system with the cooling temperatures during the on-peak daytime hours, saving energy throughout the day.

Shaw Mechanical will be the subcontractor on the project and will install the tanks for the school. The units to be installed are a newer installation for the company; it previously installed three tanks at other locations throughout Florida.

“We’ve worked with other schools before and it’s a common system in the state of Florida,” said Glenn Mullins, vice president of Charles Perry Partners.

Charles Perry Partners has worked with K-12 school districts, the University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of North Florida, University of South Florida, healthcare clients, and state and local governments.

Mullins said that the tanks save money depending on the size of the school, but seem to be most cost-effective for middle schools and high schools.

Florida has several schools throughout the state equipped with thermal energy storage including Hernando County schools, McIntosh Middle School, Sarasota County schools and soon will be adding Westridge, part of Orange County Public Schools.

OCPS also has plans to continue building middle schools and high schools in its district with cost saving energy thermal tanks as a school standard.

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