Chicago’s Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy Wins Award of Excellence from Industry Engineering Association

High School Project Managed By Public Building Commission Cited for Innovative Technologies That Reduce Energy Use

Molly Sullivan, Public Building Commission, (312) 744-9277

CHICAGO- The Public Building Commission of Chicago has announced that one of its most innovative school projects in recent years has been awarded an Excellence in Engineering Award from ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air- Conditioning Engineers) for its superior and sustainable engineering systems design.

Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy, located in the Ashburn community on the city’s Southwest Side, is the first high school in the state of Illinois to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the result of strong leadership from PBC on sustainability requirements, creative engineering and integrated design. Among other innovative sustainable features, Goode has 170 geothermal wells to heat and cool the school, and solar panels that help to heat the building’s water, including its swimming pool.

“I am proud to accept this award on behalf of PBC. It once again demonstrates the PBC’s strong commitment to environmentally sustainable design practices and good stewardship of public funds,” said Erin Lavin Cabonargi, Executive Director of the PBC. “This project should serve as a model for sustainable design and underscores how innovative thinking, an integrated design process and the use of green technology results in benefits to the environment, the students and our communities.”

The use of geothermal wells is a first for a new CPS high school and is projected to reduce the heating and cooling energy use by an estimated 20 percent. Additionally, the solar panels provide almost 20 percent of the hot water used for the building, including the swimming pool. An integrated design process helped keep the cost of construction at a level which is comparable to other high schools with more conventional energy systems, showing how strategic use of this technology can result in construction and energy cost savings. The geothermal system, along with other energy saving features in the overall integrated design, is projected to save over 40% in energy costs annually.

Goode’s other sustainable design features include a an aggressive stromwater management strategy, a green roof with bird habitat, community garden, rain garden and permeable pavers for the parking surface. Energy efficient lighting is provided with daylight dimming controls in the classrooms and select common spaces. These features help reduce energy use and costs and improve indoor air quality.

This is the fifth award PBC has received for Sarah E. Goode Academy in 2013. The other awards are the Brick in Architecture – Gold for Education, Learning by Design Publisher’s Commendation Award, Friends of the Chicago River Green Ribbon and a Chicago Association of Realtors Good Neighbor Award.

About PBC: The Public Building Commission of Chicago manages construction and renovation projects for the City of Chicago and its sister agencies. Mayor Rahm Emanuel serves as the PBC’s chairman. Erin Lavin Cabonargi serves as the Executive Director of the PBC.  Additional information about the PBC and its projects can be found at  You can also follow the Public Building Commission of Chicago on Twitter: @PBCChi and on Facebook:

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