District 300 Touts Energy Savings

Allison Smith, Carpentersville School District 300’s Communication Director seems to have started sending me press releases. Here’s one that touts energy savings:

If you are patient enough to go the bottom, I’ll tell you how District 300 could (have) save(d) much more money.

D300 saves big on energy, will honor top custodians

CARPENTERSVILLE – District 300 custodial staff will be honored at the next School Board meeting for leading the way in saving taxpayers nearly $1.2 million in energy costs over the past two years.

On Friday, Aug. 17, custodians from across D300 gathered with administrators and Johnson Controls representatives to learn which schools achieved the greatest savings during 2006-07 and to celebrate the group effort. The Energy Champions were:

  • Among high schools: Hampshire High / Middle School, with a 26 percent drop in utility costs during 2006-07 for a savings of almost $46,000 beyond the school’s goal
  • Among middle schools: Dundee Middle School, with a 17 percent drop in utility costs during 2006-07 for a savings of almost $24,000 beyond the goal
  • Among elementary schools: Dundee Highlands Elementary, with a 22 percent drop in utility costs for a savings of almost $9,000 beyond the goal

Mary Warren, a School Board member who serves on the Construction & Facility Oversight Committee, thanked Dave Ulm, D300 energy management coordinator, and the entire D300 custodial staff for creating such savings.

But she noted that D300’s energy management program, now entering its third year, is about much more than finances. Warren is a science teacher in a neighboring school district.

“This is about serving as role models to our students,” she said. “The future of our planet demands that we work to conserve energy, and what better learning environment than a school.”

Overall, D300 elementary schools saved an average of 10 percent in utilities beyond their targeted savings in 2006-07. Middle schools saved a combined 7.5 percent more, and high schools 18 percent more.

Ulm will introduce the custodial staff from the three winning schools to the School Board at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27, in the Administration Center’s Board Room, 300 Cleveland Avenue in Carpentersville.


With gas prices on the rise, summer temperatures swelling, and global warming an increasingly hot topic, energy is on almost everyone’s minds. The District 300 energy conservation program is arguably one of the district’s most successful efforts in recent history. Since contracting with Johnson Controls in 2005, the district has saved more than $500,000 in utility bills each year.

Technically, this is being achieved through mechanical and lighting upgrades, supply-side purchasing of utilities, and cutting-edge energy management controls.

But realistically, the savings would not be possible without a daily dedication to conservation by D300 employees — and perhaps none more so than the custodial staff for each building. During 2005-06, the Energy Champions were Algonquin Middle School, Jacobs High School, and Neubert Elementary.

D300’s commitment to conserve does not end with the Johnson Controls initiative.

In 2005, D300 began contracting with Constellation New Energy for natural gas. By participating in the Constellation consortium, D300 enjoys the savings of bulk-purchasing power. The District now also has the luxury of storing large quantities of natural gas during market dips, and can make real-time strategic purchasing decisions through a special Website.

Last year, D300 expanded its program to include electrical supply and is already seeing savings through a fixed-price contract with Constellation.

OK, you went to the bottom.

Had the schools and additions been constructed using SolarCrete, the walls would have had an R-36 energy rating, there would have been no break between the walls and the foundations where heat can escape and the roofs would have been more energy efficient.

Here’s the end of my November 25, 2005, article:

This is not rocket science. If your building is tighter, it costs less to heat it.

Solarcrete walls, as is explained below, are R-36. And, because they reach below the frost line, there is no heat loss where normal walls are connected to the foundation.

Below is the Fitch Company brick building in Huntley. In the next photograph, you can see the heat loss on a 25-degree day from the Fitch Company building using an infrared camera.
You can see a very cold car in the Fitch Building photos, as well as the second story windows and the doors. (Click to enlarge.)

There is a heat loss line where the walls meet the building’s foundation. You can see it best to the right of the row of bushes.

Here are similar regular and thermal photographs of a Solarcrete building with no windows– Northern Illinois Mold:
Below is a cross section of a Solarcrete wall:

Concrete on the outside and polystyrene foam on the inside. If you want to put bricks on the ouitside, no problem. As the explanation page says,

The standard Solarcrete insulated concrete wall is 12″ thick. This includes 7 1/4″ of EPS foam and 2 3/8″ fiber reinforced shotcrete on both sides of the foam. This wall assembly provides an R-value of 36.

As the firm’s web page says elsewhere, the walls are

2 to 3 times more resistant to heat loss transfer than the average U.S. Department of Energy recommendations for R-values for walls when using gas, heat pump or fuel oil for heating.

Any school administrator or board member brave enough to be a pioneer?

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