Kentucky's Clark County Public Schools (CCPS) received the Center of Excellence Award from Semco LLC for a sustainable design at the new George Rogers Clark High School.

The 300,000-sq-ft, Winchester, Ky., high school uses a geothermal-based chilled water loop combined with Semco chilled beams and dedicated outdoor air systems (DOAS) for its HVAC system. The building is recording 35% less monthly utility costs versus the 30% smaller conventional high school it replaced.

Officials report that the school's advanced indoor air quality helped contribute to a district-wide 1.5% attendance increase last year which earned a $200,000 government-awarded attendance incentive. Furthermore, the school is bigger than most high schools nationwide and ranks as one of Kentucky's largest, but is recording a 31.9-k/Btu energy use index (EUI) which is significantly less than the 68-k/Btu EUI of an average sized U.S. school. 

Superintendent Paul Christy and the building's architect Ron Murrell Jr., principal with RossTarrant Architects, received the inaugural award on behalf of Clark County Public Schools from Semco's director of sales, Tom Rice.

Christy, a former CCPS director of operations who oversaw the GRCHS design, now plans retrofitting an older district school and its HVAC chilled beams will be specified again, but because of the facility's circa 1970's thinly-insulated envelope, potential condensation will be proactively controlled with recently-developed chilled beam pump modules, which Christy reviewed with other technology at Semco's 100,000-sq-ft lab.

"Paul Christy is a rare breed of school superintendent who searches for and understands cutting-edge HVAC technology, because he realizes it not only cuts school operating expenses and taxpayer costs in the long run, but also provides a better learning IAQ environment for students and teachers," said Rice.