WAIANAE HIGH SCHOOL:  PV / AC PIlot project

THE PROBLEM:

  • Overheating classrooms upwards of 90 degrees
  • 4th period (noon) in portable P-9 was too unbearable due to heat and was held in the band room
  • Outdated electrical infrastructure not able to handle major electrical upgrades for A/C
  • Uncomfortable classroom environments due to heat as well as accumulated noise from fans
  • Broken window units were not very effective

THE SOLUTION:

  • 2 x LEZETi Solar PV A/C's
  • 6 x PV panels installed (1.5kW DC)
  • Outdoor units mounted on the rooftop for security purposes
  • No electrical upgrades required.  

ABOUT THE PROJECT:  Waianae High School was the first PV/AC pilot project installed on HIDOE facilities.  In line with the Heat Abatement program, both passive and active cooling strategies were being vetted and tested.  Greenpath was able to work with Waianae High School and the Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) to pilot a hybrid solar air conditioning project to cool down the hottest portable on campus.  Both the school principal and district Senators, Senator Maile Shimabukuro and Senator Michelle Kidani were supportive of a new solution to cooling the classrooms with a lighter carbon footprint.  The classroom selected for the LEZETi solar PV/AC was a standard portable classroom that held anywhere from 12 - 25 students per classroom period.  Alex, was the teacher at the time that Greenpath was going out to the school to take measurements on the daily temperatures of that portable.  He stated that 4th period (noon) was always moved to the band room due to the unbearable heat at that time in the day.  The project provided helpful data and performance valuation for the HIDOE regards to their heat abatement program as an option to cool down the classrooms in Hawaii's public school system.

There are over 1,000 portable classrooms across the state of Hawaii.  With minimal construction and poor insulation, some of these classrooms have seen temperatures easily over 90 degrees.  With the partnership of Waianae High School, Greenpath Technologies and the support of Senator Maile Shimabukuro, Senator Kidani and the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE), WHS was able to host the first PV/AC pilot project for the LEZETi Solar Hybrid A/C. 

In early February of 2015, Fahrenheit73 was looking to integrate the same technology into a crowd funding "cool the schools" awareness campaign.  Waianae High School leadership, the district representatives, Fahrenheit73, Greenpath Technologies and select DOE facilities personnel came out to take a look at the ideal "green" innovation in cooling that was already in operation for several months.   The technology fit the cause and it was a perfect match.  Fahreneheit73 worked with Hawaii 3R's and the HIDOE to identify which campus would be the recipient of this crowd funding campaign and James Campbell HS was selected for this Fahrenheit73 PV/AC project.  

A few of the capstone accomplishments from this PV/AC Pilot Project at Waianae HS included:

  • Piloting the first PV/AC project on HIDOE campus facilities
  • Identifying an approach to cooling that matched short and long term concerns 
  • Raising awareness about uncomfortable classroom temperatures
  • Addressing concerns for long-term sustainable utility costs for HIDOE
  • Enhancing the classroom environment with a quiet and cool solution

This hybrid solar A/C was a perfect fit for this project as the standard hours of school between 6am - 4pm are the prime sun hours for the system to draw on FREE sunlight to power the cooling of the classroom.  With an average of 20-30 students per classroom, the need for a highly energy efficient A/C with silent operation and minimal grid consumption was key in helping to maintain a comfortable learning environment as well as a sustainable long-term operating costs for the HIDOE. 

Download: Waianae High School PV/AC Pilot Project Case Study

 

THE FEEDBACK

We’ve had projects at our school where we’ve had central air conditioners, it doesn’t feel as cold and they’ve ended up opening the windows or opening up the doors. Alex, our teacher that experienced the before and after the install of the PV/AC would often mention that the classroom would get so cold at times he would have to increase the temperature.
— Ryan Oshita, Waianae High School Vice Principal
I am so thrilled with this project, because it really helps, the teacher used to have to take his 4th period students outside.
— Disa Hauge, Waianae High School Principal
I know my 4th period, the last period of the day is definitely spoiled now.
— Alex Wong, Waianae High School Teacher
I turn on the solar A/C at about 7:30am and in about a half hour the room is cooled down for my students as they arrive. I used to work in a non-air conditioned room and the difference is clearly apparent. By my 4th and 5th period with 30-35 students in the classroom, having this A/C makes a BIG difference. The A/C helps encourage better attention from my students and is reflected in increased student participation.
— Mr. Mike Nelson, WHS Teacher
Knowing that this is a source of energy that is providing a comfortable environment for our students to do work in, and its sustainable - its not something that is coming in produced by oil, its produced by our sun that we get a lot of here out in Waianae - its a really good feeling...
— Michael Kurose, Waianae High School Vice Principal
My other classes do have air conditioning, but this one is not loud, its calm and i can actually think without distractions.
— Anonymous, Waianae HS Student
For something that is powered by the sun, this is pretty cool. I feel more comfortable so I can focus a lot easier.
— Anonymous, Waianae HS Student
I have air conditioning in three other classes, but this one doesn’t make that much noise. It relaxes me and I noticed that I can do more efficient work in this class.
— Anonymous, Waianae HS Student
All of my other classes have no A/C so coming to this class is rewarding and helps to keep everything calm and cool. It makes focusing a lot easier and more comfortable. I like that it is really quiet.
— Anonymous, Waianae HS student
I like that this A/C is using clean energy and works very well. It is very quiet compared to my other class with air conditioning as well.
— Anonymous, Waianae HS Student