When 18% is a Good Grade: Trane Improves High School's Energy Efficiency

The school is on track to receive silver-level certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and has adopted the Illinois Sustainable Schools compact which features best practices that K-12 schools can voluntarily pursue to help lead the way to a greener, cleaner future.

Administrators at Ridgewood High School, Norridge, IL, expect new lighting and infrastructure upgrades by Trane to reduce energy costs by 18%, while significantly reducing noise levels from Chicago O’Hare International Airport located six miles away.


The infrastructure upgrades implemented by Trane were selected both for their energy saving and noise abatement capabilities.

District leaders funded the improvements with a noise abatement grant from the Federal Department of Aviation and Chicago Department of Aviation. The energy saving infrastructure upgrades and lighting improvements also reflect the district’s commitment to sustainability.

The school is on track to receive silver-level certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and has adopted the Illinois Sustainable Schools compact which features best practices that K-12 schools can voluntarily pursue to help lead the way to a greener, cleaner future.

In recognition of the district’s commitment to energy, operational efficiency and sustainability, Trane presented the district with the “Energy Efficiency Leader Award" on November 18.

Chris Comperchio, district general manager for Trane, presented the award to Robert Lupo, superintendent, and Michael Glaub, president of the Ridgewood Community High School District Board of Education.

“We’re pleased that the upgrades improve the academic environment for students, teachers and staff while reflecting the school’s commitment to sustainability,” Lupo said. "It’s even better that the improvements positively affect the school’s bottom line – leaving more money to focus on the school’s most important mission, educating our students.”

The upgrades were completed in August. They represent a major step in transforming the district’s facility into a high performance building which ties to its educational mission. High performance buildings take a whole-building approach to performance while creating spaces that are reliable, safe, healthy, comfortable and efficient.

High performance buildings meet specific standards for energy and water consumption, system reliability and uptime, environmental compliance and occupant comfort. All standards are set to deliver established outcomes that help building owners and occupants achieve their educational missions.

Prior to completing upgrades, DLA Architects, Ltd., located in Itasca, IL, completed building assessments to determine which energy conservation and noise abatement solutions would best meet the school’s needs. DLA Architects and Consolidated Consulting Engineers, based in Wheeling, IL, used energy modeling software to identify the best solutions for the school and predict energy savings.

Improvements included installing double-pane windows and a multi-layer roof structure to reduce noise infiltration and conserve energy. Two sections of vegetated roof were installed, built to a student’s design. The project team replaced all building lighting with highly efficient T5 or LED lighting.

Valves, faucets, and flush mechanisms were replaced with low-flow versions. Bottle filling stations replaced water fountains to help reduce waste and use of plastics. Sun shades were installed on south-facing exterior walls to reduce solar heat and glare in classrooms.

Enhanced commissioning services helps ensure that all mechanical systems run at optimum performance. Each building improvement was planned to improve the academic environment as well as optimize resources.

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