Aaron Mudd, Bowling Green Daily News
When students begin classes at the new Jennings Creek Elementary School next fall, they’ll walk into a facility that uses a fraction of the energy of a typical school.
On Friday, the school stood as an example for concrete industry representatives who toured the school’s construction site to get a better understanding of its use of insulated concrete forms.
“It seems like a perfect solution for our schools,” said Greg Mulder of the Iowa Ready Mixed Concrete Association.
During the tour, architect Kenny Stanfield with the Sherman Carter Barnhart firm described the progress at the school along Russellville Road. Workers have raised walls and are preparing to install the roof at the 90,000-square-foot school, which has a capacity of 750 students.
The facility uses insulated concrete forms, which are hollow foam blocks stacked on top of each other, reinforced with rebar and filled with concrete.
“It’s an incredibly efficient wall system” in terms of cost and energy use, Stanfield said in an interview. Whereas an average school has an energy-use intensity of 73, Stanfield said Jennings Creek will have an energy-use intensity of roughly 19.
The school will also use a geothermal system that uses the steady temperature of the earth to heat and cool the building more efficiently. Stanfield added the school will be the district’s second net-zero school, which are schools that are completely energy independent.
For Mulder, the school’s energy savings approach is a model for schools in Iowa, which experiences hot summers and colder winters.
“It’s very impressive, what I’ve seen so far,” he said.
Along with Jennings Creek, industry representatives toured South Warren middle and high schools and Richardsville Elementary School, which was the nation’s first net-zero school and sells energy to the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Brett Ruffing attended the tour as a representative of Build With Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association. He described the school district as a leader in maximizing the benefits of insulated concrete form technology.
“We want other people to understand the benefits of it,” he said.