Through a partnership with the Louisiana Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) conducted energy modeling and monitoring energy consumption in new and existing K-12 schools in New Orleans, Louisiana, to identify strategies for implementing energy saving opportunities.
Initial technical assistance provided to the city's schools also included energy audits funded by DOE's EnergySmart Schools initiative. Of the district's 128 schools open before Hurricane Katrina, only 84 are expected to open over the next 10 years. Many of these facilities must be replaced or substantially renovated. Taking into account the decades of deferred maintenance as well as storm damage, reconstruction costs for schools alone will exceed $2 billion.
In August 2007, DOE/NREL and the Louisiana Department of Education signed a Memorandum of Understanding advocating the use of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Advanced Energy Design Guide (AEDG) for K-12 School Buildings series to build more than 40 new K-12 schools and renovate more than 35 existing schools over the next 10 years, impacting more than 53,000 students.
Technical assistance provided by DOE/NREL to new K-12 schools in New Orleans includes:
Performed energy modeling at four schools that demonstrated annual energy savings potential of more than $310,000, with one design indicating a 25% savings potential; other designs are at least 31% above code requirements of ASHRAE 90.1-2004
Conducted energy performance monitoring in the first new school completed in New Orleans to evaluate performance of energy efficiency design recommendations, indentifying operational issues and strategies that will reduce the school's current energy consumption by approximately 30%, or $50,000 per year
Developed specific strategies to compliment the ASHRAE AEDG for K-12 schools in the hot-humid climate to achieve 30% savings over code
Helped guide the school district in developing new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system performance standards that are also being used for major school renovations.
In addition to new schools, DOE/NREL completed the following activities to evaluate energy use and rebuilding options in existing New Orleans schools:
Provided energy audits of more than 50 existing K-12 schools through DOE's EnergySmart Schools program, identifying more than $1.9 million in utility-bill savings opportunities
Recommended rebuilding strategies to complement the ASHRAE AEDG for K-12 schools, guiding the district to require energy modeling for major K-12 school renovations, with a goal of 25% energy savings over code
Monitoring energy use in one renovated school in New Orleans where DOE/NREL-recommended operational modifications have reduced HVAC energy consumption by 40%, or $50,000 per year.