Elementary and Secondary Schools

Elementary and Secondary Schools Make the Switch to Solids

Solids reduce risks to students, faculty and staff

According to The Green Schools Initiative, the environmental impact of the 130,000 public, private and charter K-12 schools in the United States is enormous, in financial, ecological and health terms. The impact includes tons of greenhouse gas emissions, garbage and toxic waste and exposure to unhealthy conditions that can affect students’ ability to learn. The organization indicates that a growing body of evidence shows that “green” schools that integrate sustainable facilities, healthy operations, and environmental curricula result in environmental and financial savings, improved health for students and staff, and better academic achievement.

For high schools struggling to fill holes in their budgets, investing in energy efficiency may be the least of their concerns. But it should be near the top of their priorities, says Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools, part of the U.S. Green Building Council. “This is something you can’t afford not to do,” Gutter says. “A green school … is actually one of the only opportunities, in a moment when budgets are already stretched so thin, to be able to unearth funds that are available for the taking (source).”

In the area of facility management, schools have very specific requirements for their cooling and heating systems. Schools are increasingly set up in campus-like settings, with multiple buildings and cooling and heating equipment of various sizes and with specific requirements. They have large populations of students, faculty and staff at their facilities every day that can be negatively affected by hazardous, liquid water treatment chemicals.

During the past decade, hundreds of school district facilities have switched to AP Tech’s solids to treat and maintain their comfort heating and cooling equipment because of their safety and sustainability benefits.

Case Study – A school system decreases air conditioning electrical demand by 50%

Water Treatment Challenge:

One small county school system in the Midwest had been attempting to treat its cooling tower systems with traditional liquid water treatment chemicals for many years. Every year upon inspection, the cooling towers and fluid coolers were heavily scaled up with calcium carbonate (limestone) scale. Calcium carbonate scale prohibits efficient heat transfer, which increased the operating electrical demand for air conditioning at the school by 50% or more.

Each year, the school system maintenance team would spend many hours trying to remove the hard scale from inside of the cooling towers and fluid coolers. Sometimes the cleaning entailed acid cleaning. This process endangered the maintenance team, the cooling tower and fluid cooler equipment and the environment. All forms of cleaning were moderately successful despite the large investment in man-hours and materials. However, the limestone would build up again during operation, with the same results each year.

Solving the Water Treatment Challenge with Solids:

AP Tech’s local distribution partner introduced solids as a solution to the maintenance director. Understanding the benefits clearly, a properly set up and sized water treatment program was set up and all of the schools made the switch to solids.  The program included scale and corrosion inhibitors, and a biocide for broad spectrum biological growth control. The maintenance team immediately liked the solid chemistry products and equipment because of the ease of delivery and set up. Because some of the systems were located inside areas of the campuses that were accessible to students, the safer solid setup was valued. Rather than dealing with liquid chemistry in drums and pails, the solids were able to be safely housed inside locked cabinets, removing the risk of student harm from caustic chemical exposure from previously used liquid chemicals.

After the first season of use, the cooling towers and fluid coolers were taken down for their annual inspection and cleaning. The maintenance team was surprised and impressed that no new limestone scale had formed and that in fact, old scale that was not able to be removed by previous physical and acid cleaning, was being removed as evidenced by old scale chips accumulating in the basins of the cooling towers and fluid coolers. The heat exchangers are being kept scale free, and the cooling towers and fluid coolers are operating efficiently as designed, allowing more cooling with less energy consumption.

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