Early Learning Center Net Zero Upgrade
IMEG collaborated with FGM Architects and River Trails School District to review options to renovate the existing Parkview Early Learning Center into a highly sustainable, net-zero certified project, since renamed Prairie Trails School.
Engineers evaluated HVAC and envelope options by creating an energy model of the existing building to test various strategies and their impact on energy use and operational costs. The team also worked with Trane to properly size a rooftop photovoltaic array to offset energy used in the operation of the school.
The selected system features a dedicated outdoor air system with energy recovery and demand controlled ventilation coupled with a variable refrigerant flow system. FGM Architects also designed a well-insulated, tightly sealed building to help conserve energy.
These aspects of the design allowed the project to achieve PHIUS+, the passive building energy standard. IMEG is also monitoring the building throughout the first year of operation to confirm it meets the requirements for true net zero operation.
IMEG and FGM Architects also worked with representatives from District 26 to pursue a $2,000,000 grant through the Illinois Clean Energy program to help offset the additional costs of the improved envelope, high efficiency mechanical and electrical systems, and the photovoltaic array.
The building, which houses preschool and kindergarten classes and district administration offices, is on track to save more than $32,000 a year in energy costs while offering optimized indoor air quality and reliable, energy efficient performance.
In 2023, Prairie Trails School was named a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School.
ASHRAE Illinois Chapter 2023 Excellence in Engineering Award