Case Studies

Texarkana Arkansas School District

The 49-year-old College Hill Middle School was hot in the summer, cold in the winter, the result of an outdated, inefficient HVAC system. Clear Energy’s solution was a geothermal heat pump and automated building management system. Today the school uses about one-third of the energy consumed by the average K-12 school, ranking it among the most efficient in the country.

Work Performed:

  • Designed and constructed a geothermal heat pump system providing independent temperature control at the classroom level. A geothermal system uses the constant temperature of the earth to heat and cool, maximizing both energy efficiency and comfort.
  • Replaced 1,000 outdated fluorescent fixtures with Clear Energy’s high-efficiency lighting system.
  • Installed automated building controls, which includes the infrastructure to allow every building in the district to be added to the system.


  • Annualized energy consumption since startup has been 25 kBtus* per square foot, which qualifies as a high performing building and compares favorably to the national average of 80 kBtus per square foot for K-12 schools.
  • Energy saving goals reached without replacing windows or adding insulation.
  • The school’s overall appearance was improved after yellowed ceiling tiles were replaced and fume hoods and overhead ductwork were removed.

*kBtu = 1,000 British thermal units, a standard measure of energy consumption.

Improving Spaces Beyond the College Hill Campus

Clear Energy was also engaged to upgrade lighting, HVAC or controls at eight other district campuses. While saving energy and improving comfort was job one, creating a more favorable environment for learning was another critical factor.

Classrooms became quieter as noisy interior furnaces were replaced with outside units. This eliminated the need for furnace closets and opened up more classroom space.

Classrooms became more comfortable with automated building controls. Temperatures can be adjusted from a web browser and maintenance staff can quickly troubleshoot and fix issues remotely. Occupancy sensors automatically turn off lights and set back thermostats when rooms are empty.

With more efficient lighting, the district cut costs and made spaces more appealing. Most of these classrooms are along building exteriors, so natural lighting was harvested to save even more energy.

From the initial work on the College Hill campus through the planning of future phases, Clear Energy managed the design and execution of projects with a whole-systems approach, each improvement building on others, working together as a whole to reduce energy use, eliminate costly maintenance issues and create more comfortable school buildings.

More case studies