The Holderness School

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For more than 130 years, the private, co-educational Holderness School has welcomed students in grades 9-12 to its 600-acre campus in Holderness, NH. The school occupies 24 buildings, including residence halls, as well as academic, administrative, and athletic buildings.

Guided by its Sustainability Mission Statement, which affirms its goal to “embrace environmental stewardship, responsibility, and justice,” Holderness puts energy efficiency at the heart of numerous construction and renovation projects. Completed projects include:

  • Construction of two new LEED Gold Certified residence halls that feature solar orientation, solar hot water, drain water heat recovery systems, and efficient propane boilers, as well as low-flow toilets and shower heads
  • Seven efficiency lighting initiatives, as well as installation of more than 1,100 compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • Installation of a 2-ton ductless mini-split heat pump in the Computer Server Room
  • Air sealing and insulation improvements in the dining hall
  • Installation of 11 energy recovery ventilators in residence halls

In total, Holderness is realizing savings of almost $50,000 annually from completed projects, along with saving more than 190,000 kWh each year. Once its central heating system comes online in the summer, savings will grow to almost $370,000 annually. 

The school also has several major efficiency projects underway, including construction of a new central biomass heating system, and a new outdoor hockey rink with a solar PV system designed to make it a net-zero electricity complex. Both projects give Holderness a creative way to teach students about energy efficiency. As of beginning of June, all buildings are on line from the biomass plant. Testing, balancing and commissioning will happen over the summer and all expectations are that the system will be operational by early August. In January, a third-party verification will be performed to ensure the system is working as designed during a full heating environment.

Last fall, science students performed extensive research to evaluate the feasibility and most efficient design for the hockey rink’s new PV system. Their results mirrored the project’s actual recommendations. Meanwhile, the new heating system will be incorporated into studies of sustainable forestry practices, renewable energy economics and technology, and system efficiency. Students also help monitor the use of electricity, propane and water in residence halls, and they participate in the Green Cup Challenge, an energy-saving residence hall contest that includes 13 other New England schools.

Holderness is also sharing its efficiency success throughout New Hampshire by working closely with the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative, the University of New Hampshire, Plymouth State University, and the New Hampshire Legislature.

NHEC has made the Holderness School’s achievements possible by providing incentives and expertise to help school representatives make informed decisions about comprehensive energy investments.

Holderness shows that energy efficiency goes beyond saving dollars and resources. It also provides a creative catalyst that inspires students to think about the world they will inherit—and how that can make that world a better place.   

Annual Energy Savings (kwh/yr): 191,386
Total Savings ($): 369,734
Total Project Cost ($): 4,234,011
Incentive Dollars ($): 375,977
Customer Cost ($): 3,858,034
Simple Payback (yrs): 10.4

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