Geothermal for Whitmore Lake High School

PBA Provides Unique MEP Engineering Solutions for Whitmore Lake Public Schools

Whitmore Lake High School is serving as a model for the State of Michigan of similar size due to the strong commitment to sustainability and innovation initiated by the school district. District personnel and school board members had an intimate involvement with the design team which provided a reassuring presence and kept the team’s actions in line with their guiding vision.  

The building’s heating and cooling needs are served completely by a geothermal water source heat pump system consisting of nearly 47 miles of piping, approximately one third of which is located in a pond. Each space in the building is provided with measured quantity of outside air which is pretreated by dedicated energy recovery units to minimize the impact of the outside air load on the space tempering equipment. Every classroom has independent temperature control through a water source heat pump which operates in conjunction with space temperature and CO2 sensors to maintain a properly ventilated space within the design temperature range. Calculations show an estimated annual energy savings of over $80,000 per year in operating over conventional systems for this building.  

Through the combined efforts of the team members, the project earned a LEED® Silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.


  • LEED Silver
  • ASHRAE Technology Award
  • Geothermal Water Source Heat Pump