Early Collaboration Yields Savings at Cincinnati School


Duke Energy has been exceeding its energy efficiency goals as customers embrace doing more with less energy. The company has been recognized as the clear leader in energy efficiency in the Southeast by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Duke Energy’s goals to reduce customer energy consumption and peak demand were both exceeded in 2019. The company has set even more aggressive energy efficiency goals for 2020.

Duke Energy works closely with its customers to help them save energy and money.

A collaboration between Duke Energy and the Bethany School in Cincinnati helped the kindergarten through eighth grade school earn recognition as the Midwest’s first “net-zero” school building and the second-most energy-efficient school in the U.S.

To earn a net-zero designation, a building must be powered by enough renewable energy to offset its demand for energy produced by carbon-emitting sources. The Bethany School earned its designation by using two types of renewable energy systems: solar and geothermal. A solar energy system harnesses the sun’s power to produce electricity. Geothermal systems draw from the Earth’s natural temperature for heating and cooling.

Duke Energy’s goals to reduce customer energy consumption and peak demand were both exceeded in 2019.

Bethany School’s commitment to sustainability resulted in an ultra-efficient design that earned the school more than $75,000 in Duke Energy incentives and rebates.

Some of the energy-efficient design features include:

  • A building layout that keeps most classrooms out of the direct path of the sun.
  • Insulation that keeps warm air inside the building during winter or outside during summer.
  • Roofing materials chosen with high solar reflectance values, to minimize the “heat island effect” that buildings can create in the environment.
  • A geothermal exchange system of more than 100 piping wells buried to depths of 305 feet – and engineered to maximize the transfer of warmer or cooler air between buildings where needed.

In total, the design is expected to deliver energy savings of about 187,000 kilowatt hours per year. That’s about the same amount of energy used to dry more than 53,600 loads of laundry and good news for a school committed to sustainability and saving money.