REHAU ECOAIR™ Provides Synergy with LEED for Schools Rating System

REHAU's ECOAIR™ ground-air heat exchange system has been deemed as synergistic with the guidelines of the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) for Schools rating system.

REHAU announces the recent recognition of its REHAU ECOAIR™ ground-air heat exchange system as synergistic with the guidelines of the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) for Schools rating system. Focused toward the new construction and major renovation of K-12 educational buildings, LEED for Schools places a particular emphasis on children's health, including indoor air quality.


"According to the USGBC, LEED for Schools recognizes the critical role schools play in providing healthy, safe environments for children to learn," said Mike Dietrich, business team manager, building technology at REHAU. "Because children breathe more air in proportion to their bodies than adults, environments for children must be carefully designed to minimize indoor pollutant exposure. The REHAU ECOAIR ground-air heat exchange system can help to facilitate indoor air quality by bringing in fresh air from the outdoors, while also pre-conditioning it to provide greater HVAC system efficiency and ultimate occupant comfort."

The LEED for Schools rating system is based on LEED for New Construction, addressing issues such as classroom acoustics, master planning, mold prevention and environmental site assessment. Employing an integrated approach, it also promotes improved practices in: site selection and development; water and energy use; environmentally preferred materials, finishes and furnishings; waste stream management; indoor air quality and occupant comfort; and innovation in sustainable design and construction.

Current Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB) tax credits, available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, have further encouraged the construction of educational facilities in accordance with the LEED for Schools rating system.

"With specific funding earmarked for the construction and major renovation of U.S. schools, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has made it even more appealing for the building community to consider incorporating the latest sustainable building technologies," Dietrich said.

Addressing the fresh air needs of today's tighter building envelopes, the REHAU ECOAIR system takes advantage of consistently moderate ground temperatures to pre-condition incoming fresh air, thus improving indoor air ventilation while also reducing heating and cooling costs. Prior to entering the indoor ventilation system, fresh air is pre-warmed with ground heat 5 to 7 feet (1.5 to 2 meters) below the earth's surface in winter, and pre-cooled with cooler ground temperatures in summer.

The system has been incorporated as part of two recent school construction projects developed under the LEED for Schools rating system: the James K. Polk Elementary School in the D.C.-metro area of Alexandria, Va.; and the Dr. David Suzuki Public School in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

James K. Polk Elementary School; Alexandria, Va.
As part of the Alexandria Public School System's aggressive "Greenovation" strategy toward green building technology integration in Northern Virginia, as well as its aim in fostering related and authentic learning experiences for its students, the James K. Polk elementary school has received numerous sustainable building upgrades over the past year.

Among them is installation of the REHAU ECOAIR ground-air heat exchange system, which provides fresh air intake while significantly reducing the energy load of a traditional HVAC system. In addition to providing fresh air indoors, the school's REHAU ECOAIR system, composed of 170.2 feet (51.9 meters) of 8-in. (202 mm) pipe, is projected to offset 14,279 kWhr/year, which is equivalent to the energy produced by 62 200-watt solar panels. This energy savings also translates to more than 10 metric tons of reduced carbon emissions per year.

When complete, the modernization of the school will make James K. Polk in Alexandria the first U.S. elementary school to merge seven energy efficiency design strategies. These include a plan to power the school by three types of renewable energy: solar hot water; photovoltaics; and 100-percent grid-wind power. The project will also be seeking LEED Silver certification, and all improvements are projected to reduce the school's overall energy consumption by 30 percent.

Dr. David Suzuki Public School; Windsor, Ont. (Canada)
Named for an iconic leader in promoting sustainable ecology on a global scale, the Dr. David Suzuki Public School in Windsor, Ontario, has become Canada's first LEED Platinum certified educational facility. The school embodies the concept of "Earth Keepers," a theme that goes beyond the building's sustainable energy systems and architecture, to permeate the educational experience and curriculum of its K-12 students.

The partnership with Dr. Suzuki, a recipient of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science, is reflective of the Greater Essex County District School Board's commitment to deploying a full array of sustainable technologies within its educational facilities. These include solar, wind, rainwater collection, green/white roof, reflective concrete, daylight harvesting and high-efficiency HVAC systems. As part of this aim, the REHAU ECOAIR ground-air heat exchange system was recently installed at the school, including 200 feet (60.97 meters) of 15-in. (381 mm) pipe. On the hottest day of the year in Windsor, when the external ambient temperature can reach 89.2° F (31.8°C), the output from the pipes is expected to be 68°F (20°C), providing a potential annual carbon reduction of 22.132 metric tons.

For more information, visit Greenbuild 2011 booth No. 222N or contact: REHAU, 1501 Edwards Ferry Rd., N.E., Leesburg, Va., 20176. Phone: 1.800.247.9445. Fax: 1.800.627.3428. E-mail: rehau.mailbox@rehau.com. Web site: www.na.rehau.com/ecoair.

REHAU delivers "Unlimited Polymer Solutions," and is the premium worldwide brand for polymer-based innovations and systems in construction, automotive and industry. The company generates continuous growth through its expertise and innovative capabilities in materials development, systems design and surface technology. Approximately 15,000 employees at more than 170 locations around the world ensure success of the independent, privately held company.
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TO THE EDITOR: Please do not convert REHAU or ECOAIR to lowercase. Thank you.

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