USGBC Green Schools Conference session “Improving Indoor Air Quality & Energy Efficiency in Schools: A LEED Case Study” with Anil Giri, PE, LEED AP, CxA, Director of Mechanical Engineering, Global Engineering Solutions in conversation with Christian Weeks, CEO, enVerid Systems
On June 28, 2021, Christian Weeks and Anil Giri discussed the design for the LEED Gold Solomon Solis-Cohen Elementary School in Philadelphia, PA. The school used enVerid air scrubbers to reduce lifecycle costs, save energy, and earn LEED points using Pilot Credit EQpc124. Learn more in this recorded session.
Air Cleaning for Healthy & Efficient Schools: Make the air in your school safer and healthier, permanently
The COVID-19 pandemic shone a spotlight on the critical impact of indoor air quality (IAQ) on health and safety. It also highlighted the central role that heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems play in achieving healthy IAQ, and the pressing need to ensure that these systems are upgraded and operating effectively. At the same time, climate change is fueling the green schools movement, where HVAC systems take center stage as the biggest energy consumers in most schools.
Despite the critical role HVAC systems play in IAQ and energy efficiency, HVAC system improvements have often been deferred and now 4 in 10 public school districts need to update or replace more than half of their outdated systems. With limited financial resources, schools need solutions that address both indoor air quality and sustainability without significantly increasing costs. Air scrubbing technology delivers the win-win-win schools are looking for: better indoor air quality, reduced HVAC system and operating costs, and reduced carbon emissions.
Learn more about air scrubbing technology in this short, non-technical introduction for school leaders.
K-12 School Air Scrubbing Project Profiles
Read brief project profiles and longer case studies describing how schools across the U.S. have incorporated air scrubbing technology, which engineering firms they have used, and the results they have achieved.
Why Is enVerid Air Scrubbing Needed in K-12 Schools?
Years of deferred maintenance have taken a toll on our schools. A recent GAO report on American K-12 schools found that:
an estimated 41 percent of districts need to update or replace heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in at least half of their schools, representing about 36,000 schools nationwide that need HVAC updates.”
To help schools ensure that indoor air quality, energy efficiency and emissions reduction, and cost saving goals are met during HVAC upgrades, we’ve written the K-12 Schools’ Guide to HVAC System Upgrades. Learn more about enVerid’s HVAC Load Reduction® products and the enVerid Air Purifier below.
HVAC Load Reduction Solution for Schools
For schools looking to control costs, improve learning outcomes, and increase energy efficiency, enVerid’s HVAC Load Reduction (HLR) products deliver award-winning air cleaning technology that lowers the cost of new HVAC equipment, improves indoor air quality, and reduces HVAC energy costs.
Ideally suited for schools installing new HVAC equipment or seeking to make existing dedicated outside air systems or packaged rooftop units more efficient, enVerid’s HLR products clean the air in schools so that indoor air can be safely recirculated and outside air requirements can be reduced using ASHRAE’s performance-based Indoor Air Quality Procedure (IAQP).
By permanently reducing load on HVAC systems, HLR modules lower the energy and carbon intensity of HVAC systems, which saves money and extends HVAC equipment life. The reduction of required outside air also decreases the cost of installing new HVAC equipment by allowing for HVAC system downsizing.
Deploying HLR technology is also a great way to earn up to 17 LEED points for existing buildings, 12 LEED points for new construction projects, and up to 2 preconditions and 5 optimization points in the WELL Air concept category.
HLR technology improves indoor air quality by removing contaminants generated by building materials, furniture, and classroom and cleaning supplies from indoor air, and by reducing the intake of outside air polluted by exhaust from highways and airports, smoke from industrial parks and wildfires, pollen, and ozone.
Compared to other energy saving initiatives that increase project first costs and have long payback periods, enVerid’s HLR products allow for the use of ASHRAE’s IAQP to deliver both first cost savings from downsizing new HVAC equipment and ongoing energy savings by permanently reducing load on HVAC systems.
When combined with high-efficiency MERV filters or local HEPA filters such as the enVerid Air Purifier, HLR technology can be used to deliver safe indoor air quality for virus mitigation with less outside air, which is less energy and carbon intensive than ventilation-only approaches to mitigate the airborne transmission of viruses.
Technical Resources for Engineers and LEED Professionals
Specifying HLR Air Scrubbing Technology for K-12 Schools: A Guide for Consulting Engineers
Designing 21st Century Schools: What K-12 Schools Are Seeking
When schools are installing new HVAC systems or upgrading existing HVAC systems, their goals generally include reducing equipment first costs and operating costs, increasing energy efficiency, and ensuring good indoor air quality, which has been shown to improve learning outcomes. Increasingly schools are also pursuing green building certifications such as LEED or CHPS (Collaborative for High Performance Schools) or going all the way to net zero designs. Whichever of these goals is most important to your K-12 clients, incorporating HLR air scrubbing technology can help achieve it.
Using Air Scrubbing Technology to Achieve Design Goals
One of the largest energy loads in schools, especially in hot, cold, and humid climates, is the load associated with conditioning large volumes of outside air before it is circulated throughout a school.
To eliminate harmful contaminants from indoor spaces (e.g., CO2 from people, formaldehyde from furniture, and volatile organic compounds from building materials), conventional ventilation design approaches use dilution ventilation to replace 100% of indoor air with outside air up to 55 times/day. In hot, cold, and humid climates, dilution ventilation is very energy intensive because large volumes of outside air need to be conditioned before being circulated through a school. In these climates, conditioning all this outside air can account for up to 15% of a school’s energy load.
A more energy efficient and cost-effective alternative to dilution ventilation is to maintain healthy indoor air quality by cleaning indoor air using advanced filtration air scrubbing technology. This approach removes contaminants from the air so that the indoor air can be safely recirculated, which reduces the need for energy-intensive heating and cooling of large volumes of outside air. This approach is similar to the approach NASA and the Navy use in spaceships and submarines where dilution ventilation is impossible and can be easily applied with a wide range of HVAC system designs commonly found in schools including DOAS, ERV, and mixed air systems. This guide provides technical information and specifications for consulting engineers considering employing air scrubbing systems in K-12 schools.