Case Study: Consulting Engineering

Jackie Doucet Caffey Junior High School

Alvin Independent School DistrictManvel, Texas

Alvin ISD's Largest Junior High School

The new two-story, 177,000 SF Jackie Doucet Caffey Junior High School serves 1,000 students from Alvin Independent School District's rapidly growing student population. Opening in August 2020, the district sought to create a campus that not only meets the community's needs by delivering an energy-efficient and healthy learning environment but also emphasizes cost-effectiveness Jackie Doucet Caffey Jr High School Video 1.MP4and easy maintenance throughout its lifetime.

The Challenges

  • Deliver an energy-efficient facility that exceeds IECC 2015 and ASHRAE 90.1-2016 requirements
  • Prioritize indoor air quality (IAQ), while maintaining optimized thermal comfort
  • Emphasize ease of operation and maintenance in design and system decisions
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We've had tons of support [for this new facility]...the community is so excited. Created with Sketch.

Tina McCorkle

Jackie Doucet Caffey Junior High Principal

The Solutions

The new, state-of-the-art facility includes 38 standard classrooms, as well as science labs, fine arts classrooms, two gymnasiums, an administration suite, and a library that features a learning stair for large group instruction and community events. Delivering an energy-efficient building was not merely a goal but a directive from the owner, who aimed to exceed IECC 2015 and ASHRAE 90.1-2016 standards. To achieve this, CMTA conducted a comprehensive review of similar junior high schools in the district to identify key energy efficiency improvements. Based on the review, the team focused on optimizing the facility’s outside air system and lighting design.

Outdoor air is delivered via two dedicated outdoor air units, each equipped with a total energy recovery wheel, hydronic preheat coil, chilled water coil, face and bypass dampers, and outside air/exhaust air fans. The outside air from this unit is ducted directly to many spaces, increasing the delivery efficiency, and reducing the total outside air delivered by approximately 25% over traditional systems. This delivery method saves on system equipment sizes (i.e., outdoor air, boilers, and chillers) and energy consumption without compromising the classrooms’ indoor air quality (IAQ).

Additionally, the design team selected 100% LED lighting for the building, reducing lighting power and cooling energy. CMTA ran lighting calculations to right-size the system to appropriately light, but not over-light, spaces, analyzing the performance of specific light fixtures to ensure that high-lumen, high-efficacy fixtures were implemented. Utilizing these types of fixtures not only lowers the energy density of the lighting system but also prove more cost-effective, as fewer high-performing fixtures are needed to achieve superior lighting outcomes. As a result, the building achieved an internal lighting density of 0.46 W/ft², a remarkable 47% reduction from the allowable code.

Alongside the project’s efficiency goals, Alvin ISD wanted to ensure the building was easy to operate and maintain. The district’s existing building portfolio was predominantly equipped with chilled water systems, a technology their maintenance personnel were familiar with and could efficiently manage. Leveraging this existing expertise, CMTA embraced the owner’s proficiency with these systems and provided the most efficient design without introducing systems that would be overly complex or cumbersome to maintain.

Innovative Ventilation System

The building design produces high Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) by strategically and efficiently delivering ventilation air, maintaining optimized thermal comfort, effectively capturing exhaust, and using air purification technology to increase particulate capture in odor-prone areas. An innovative aspect of the design revolves around a unique demand control ventilation system that regulates outdoor air throughout the building using a singular CO2 sensor, as opposed to the typical reliance on multiple sensors that often require recalibration. This centralized CO2 sensing approach not only eliminates the frequent need for sensor maintenance and calibration but also enhances indoor air quality (IAQ) and achieves significant energy savings by adjusting ventilation according to the actual demand across different areas.

By automating the process and covering the minimal maintenance through a yearly agreement, the design ensures operational efficiency and cost savings, positioning this system as an energy-saving solution with minimal upkeep for the owner.

The Results

Thanks to the project's innovative energy-efficient design strategies, Jackie Caffey Junior High boasts an impressive Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of just 23.4 kBtu/SF/yr. This represents a staggering 51% reduction when compared to the 47.9 EUI benchmark set by the IECC for K-12 schools in the region.

Not only have these efficiency improvements been implemented in a cost-effective manner from the outset, but they also continue to afford the owner ongoing energy cost savings year after year. The building’s energy efficiency translates into significant financial savings, with the school saving approximately $80,635 in annual energy costs compared to a typical Energy Star median-performing school facility.

Jackie Doucet Caffey JHS Energy Use