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Energy savings: Geothermal high school makes renewable energy a community affair

Wisconsin Focus on Energy.

As a result of community backing, a determined school board and support provided by Wisconsin Focus on Energy (the state of Wisconsin's energy-efficiency program), Alliant Energy, the Wisconsin Geothermal Association and the Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium, the School District of Fond du Lac completed the construction of its 400,000-square-foot, geothermal high school.

The geothermal system selected offers a variety of ongoing benefits to the community, including increased comfort for students and staff, superior air quality, enhanced learning atmosphere, reduced environmental impacts and a significant return on the investment.

The design of the high school includes a geothermal closed-loop pond system with thousands of feet of pipe that lie on the floor of two manmade ponds. The system uses the earth's natural heat to warm the building. A heat-recovery system recaptures more than 80 percent of the heat exhausted when fresh air is brought into the school. Heat recovery made it possible to have a smaller ground-source heat pump to ensure ventilation load. Four 1.9 million BTU high-efficiency boilers back up the loop and ventilation system in the event of extended extreme weather conditions. Geothermal is not new to Wisconsin, but the closed-loop pond system is unique for a building of this size.

Workstation options

Biofit Engineered Products. Standard tables can place computer hardware at a level where students must strain to see around or above their monitors. This new workstation has a semi-recessed monitor design that lowers the workstation profile almost six inches. The desk has a sloping shelf that enables the monitor to sit at an angle that emulates the natural position for reading a book.

Floor cleaning

Tennant. The new Foam Scrubbing Technology (FaST) reduces water and detergent consumption, and wastewater disposal, by up to 70 percent. The FaST system uses a surfactant or “surface active agent” mixed with water and air to create a scrubbing foam. Due to the engineered, self-collapsing foam technology, the foam returns to its liquid state by the time the scrubber has recovered it.

Design options

Johnsonite. Millwork wall base features a smooth, non-fading surface that emulates the look of finely milled wood with no knots or grain to detract from its appearance. Unlike real wood, it will not splinter, chip or absorb liquids, and it resists stains, dents and scratches. The wall base designs are available in more than 100 colors and finishes, including eight new muted palette selections.

Waste hauling

Ameri-Kart Corp. The new 96-gallon BossKart has a large capacity that reduces the number of individual carts needed for waste disposal. It has a pleated panel design in the sidewall for vertical strength. The pleat panels allow the cart to recover quickly from the squeeze of a fully automated collection system. An extra-deep, latch bar pocket ensures an easy, secure hookup for lift systems.

Underwater repair

Devcon. Underwater Repair Putty is a non-rusting, epoxy-based compound that penetrates moisture and forms a strong, permanent seal under water. Ideal for repairing, patching or rebuilding wet or submerged equipment, the putty bonds to steel, iron, aluminum, brass, bronze, concrete, wood and certain plastics. It cures at temperatures as low as 40°F, and the maximum service temperature is 250°F.

Computer support

KI. The new InTandem computer support furniture allows for a more flexible option with its distinctive wiring abilities — little to no disruption to students is required for changes or repairs. When accessing the power and communication beam, which conceals all cables and separates power from other cabling, problematic cross-talk between wires is eliminated.

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