Trane presented its Energy Efficiency Leader Award on Aug. 28 to the Racine Unified School District in Racine, WI. The district will be saving approximately $150,000 in annual utility and operations costs thanks to facility upgrades at four middle schools and 11 elementary schools. The upgrades were implemented by Trane and funded with a performance contract, which avoided any tax impact to the community.

“We’re pleased that we could improve the learning environment without adding a tax burden for the district,” said David Hazen, chief financial officer of Racine Unified School District. “It’s even better that the improvements increase the district’s overall sustainability — making the district environment better for all our residents.”

By funding the project with a performance contract, the schools are able to use future energy and operational savings to finance infrastructure improvements up front.

Prior to selecting improvements, Trane completed a detailed energy audit of district buildings. Based on the audit results, Trane presented infrastructure system upgrades to Racine Unified that best met their energy conservation goals and updated solutions in 15 buildings.

Upgrades included replacing an outdated steam plant with a centralized heating plant that includes high efficiency hot water boilers. The district also updated digital controls so that they integrate with existing building controls to expand energy management functions and capabilities. High efficiency lighting upgrades were completed at 11 elementary schools.

Upgrades at McKinley, Mitchell, and Jerstad-Agerholm Middle Schools included replacing windows and doors as well as roofing replacement and maintenance. New doors and windows were also added at Janes Elementary and doors were added at Red Apple.

The district also has incorporated sustainability education into its curriculum with the BTU Crew™ curriculum, a six-session educational program about energy conservation in buildings created by Trane and incorporated into fifth-grade classrooms starting in 2010. The program is designed to interest young students in potential careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. Fifth-grade students were scheduled to present what they learned from the curriculum during the Aug. 28 awards presentation.