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Collins High School an energy star

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Building receives Energy Star certification

By Todd Martin

Collins High School has joined the ranks of Kentucky’s Energy Star-rated schools, which was noted by a brief presentation on Thursday morning in Collins’ Project Lead the Way engineering classroom.

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Shelby County Energy Manager Sherman Adams presented the framed certification to Principal Anthony Hatchell, and Jeff Riggs, an engineer with Biagi, Chance, Cummins, London, Titzer, and Mike Smith, from architectural firm Sherman Carter Barnhart, both spoke about the project.

Gabe Jones, the project manager from Sherman Carter Barnhart, and Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger were also on hand for the announcement.

The school, which was completed in 2010, earned the certification by utilizing a number of energy saving materials, techniques and machines.

On average Energy Star-rated schools use 35 percent less energy and emit 35 percent less greenhouse gasses than an average school.

According to EnergyStar.gov, a top performing certified school will cost 40 cents per square foot less to operate than a average school.

The school is one of 155 Energy Star-certified schools in the state, and the second in Shelby County, joining East Middle. Of the state’s 174 school districts, 49 have Energy Star buildings, and 22 have multiple buildings.

In the area, Bullitt County has 13, Jefferson County has 8, Oldham 5 and Anderson 3. The Warren County Board of Education has the most Energy Star-rated buildings in the state with 18, and Bowling Green Independent adds another for that area.

Starting with the building itself, Smith said the first energy-conscious decision was the placement of the building.

“Not only do we have some solar panels on the building to heat water, but we also took advantage of passive solar,” he said. “All the classrooms get daylight, which not only helps provide heat in the winter but also helps use less lighting. With the fixtures we installed, as the daylight increases, the artificial lights inside decrease their output.”

Smith also noted the extra measures they put in for insulating, noting that the walls, which are formed a shell containing poured concrete, insulate up to R50, about two-and-a-half times the insulation of a typical school.

“And the roof is about fifty percent thicker,” he said. “The idea behind this is to not only keep the hot and cold out, but also to keep it in. It acts a lot like a cooler, so not only do you use very little energy to heat it up or cool it down, but you are also able use that energy for a much longer time.”

One of the more interesting materials in the project, Smith noted, is the terrazzo floor, used throughout.

The terrazzo floor is incredibly long lasting and does not require harsh chemicals to clean or install.

Riggs complemented the architects, saying he had a great base to work with.

“I had an excellent envelope to work within,” he said. “From there we used several efficient systems to lessen the energy needs.”

Riggs explained that the geothermal heat pumps run lines under asphalt parking lot to help heat the water, and air system is designed to lessen the amount of heating or cooling.

“We need to keep the air fresh in here, so students are falling asleep because of too much carbon dioxide in the building,” he said smiling. “So when the air is coming in going out, it’s mixed to precondition the air before it comes into the building.”

He went on to mention motion sensor lights that were installed to turn off when no one is in a room and efficient fixtures that use less hot water.

Rothenburger used the opportunity to commend the district for the efficient building and to recruit some future engineers for the area.

“I’ll take this opportunity to plea to those [future engineers] in here, we need you here,” he said. “Go, get your degrees, and come back to help us create a better environment here in Shelby County.”

Because the presentation was done in the pre-engineering class, teacher Terry Henry tried to use it as a teaching tool, asking Smith what led him to engineering.

Although it wasn’t his first choice, he said he kind of fell into it and it’s been the perfect fit for him.

“If you like building things, learning how they work and figuring them out, it’s a great field,” he said. “It’s very diverse, so there are a lot of different ways you can go with a degree.”

Hatchell said applauded all those involved with the program, noting how they helped walk him through the process of building a new school and how the features could be efficient and better for students.

“They educated me, as well, as we went through the process,” he said. “We have an unbelievable facility here, and they certainly deserve all the credit.”