With a progressive board, District 219 was looking to use capital reserves to improve the sustainability profile of its two high schools. With over one million square feet, 88 acres, and forty years of history, the facilities presented a challenge to research and comprehension. Legat Architects and dbHMS were engaged to map a strategy for the Board to have the first high school in Illinois to be certified under the USGBC® Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED©) for Existing Building Operation and Maintenance (EBOM) program.
To create a master plan and move Niles West toward greater energy efficiency and a healthier environment, dbHMS analyzed the utility bills, documented all the current MEP operation sequences, and proposed changes in use and controls for the systems.
The facility is equipped with two separate chiller plants. Energy modeling and schedule analysis showed that significant energy could be saved by locating classes during summer school to keep them all on one chilled water loop. In addition, groups that rented classroom space were incentivized to choose spaces that would minimize use of a second chiller.
ASHRAE level 1 and 2 audits by dbHMS revealed two major strategies: The corridor lighting power use could be reduced both by disconnecting one third of the lamps in many fixtures and by adding a control system that links corridor lights to the bell schedule. With that system, corridors are lit sufficiently by the emergency lights during class periods and powered to approximately 40 foot-candles during the passing periods when students are moving from class to class.
The school met its ENERGY Star target and received certified status under LEED© EBOM 2009.