School Geothermal Systems to Save Energy, Money

Martinsburg, W VA

The installation of new geothermal heating and cooling systems at three Berkeley County elementary schools continued Monday as contractors put the finishing touches on a major part of a system wide energy-savings project.

At Mill Creek Intermediate School, Arvon said visitors will see a lot of site work, with grading and seeding as a result of the geothermal-system installation.

“It’s like digging up a football field,” he said.

At Mill Creek Intermediate School, the new geothermal system replaced an old chiller system that required continual maintenance, he said.

About 24 miles of pipe was installed underground for the three geothermal systems, according to school officials.

“This is a looped system, so you’re not digging down and getting well water and running it through the system,” Arvon said. “It’s a closed loop, you fill those pipes up (with water), and it just circulates.”

More wells had to be dug for Mill Creek Intermediate School due, at least in part, to geological conditions at the property, he said.

“When the students and teachers and staff enter those buildings, I am sure they are going to be even more excited than what they had anticipated their excitement to be from working in the buildings as (they) once functioned,” he said

New geothermal systems will be installed next summer at Berkeley Heights, Gerrardstown, Rosemont and Tuscarora elementary schools.

Besides the three major school projects, about 30 percent of the more than 23,000 lights eyed for replacement in school district facilities have been changed as of Monday.

Door weatherstripping, window caulking, and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning control-system work improvements also are in various stages of completion.

Arvon said energy-management improvements made this summer are estimated to have already saved about $300,000.

The school district is expected to save at least $1.7 million per year as part of an energy-performance contract with a Kentucky-based firm that was approved in May.

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