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Indianapolis Public Schools
George Washington Carver Elementary School # 87
K-5, 225 Students, Year-Round Schedule
Indianapolis, IN

Winner: ASHRAE’s 2009 National Technology Award


When School 87 was constructed in 1935, an underground spring was found during excavation of the boiler room that required pumping to avoid flooding. To remove up to 150 gallons per minute of ground water, sump pumps were installed and ran continuously. Power outages disabled the pumps occasionally, which allowed the boiler room to flood causing damage to the boilers and mechanical equipment. The ground water was seen as a significant liability. In 2006, Indianapolis Public Schools adopted a year-round schedule for School 87, which necessitated the need for air conditioning.


The transition to a year-round operation provided the opportunity to design a creative heating and cooling solution.  Working with Tom Durkin, of Durkin & Villalta Partners Engineering, covalen provided a geothermal solution that leveraged the ground water, turning it into an asset. School 87 has the lowest operational cost in the Indianapolis Public School System. Even with the addition of air conditioning and converting to a year-round operation, School 87 realized a 17% reduction in utility costs.


  • Verdetherm Systems heater/chiller
  • 120 ton geothermal heater/chiller
  • Geothermal water storage tank and circulating pump
  • Duplex two-pipe distribution pumps
  • Lead/lag plate and frame heat exchangers
  • Thompson Strainer pre-filters
  • Two 1,400,000 Btu Viessmann standby condensing boilers
  • Control logic
  • Submersible sump pumps and backup engine driven sump pump


  • 17% reduction in utility costs
  • Increased heating & cooling capacity
  • Achieved backup/redundancy
  • Turned water liability into an asset