Folsom Ranch High School

In the early stages of mechanical systems selections, the Capital Engineering Team collaborated with all of Capital’s Design Teams including, Civic, Technology, and Healthcare Teams to pull ideas and emerging technologies from all building types and mechanical systems.

The new Folsom Ranch High School (FRHS) project is a departure from the standard “California High School Sites” which historically has multiple standalone buildings such as Classroom Buildings, Admin Buildings, Shop Buildings, etc. FRHS was to be a single 310,000 sf two-story building. Having just one very large building would naturally make one consider a central plant application such as used on a large civic projects or hospitals.

At this point in the project, we explored all mechanical systems types and decided to prepare a Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) to validate what would be the most appropriate system for the High School. Life Cycle Costing is an important economic analysis tool used in the selection of alternatives that impact both pending and future costs. It compares initial investment options and identifies the least cost alternatives for a twenty year period.

Capital collaborated with the Folsom Cordova USD staff, the architectural team, system manufacturers, and our own internal sustainability experts. The team explored 7 different systems including Central Plants, Geothermal, and Unitary Packaged Equipment. The primary goal was to select a system that met the future Net-Zero Standards.

After an exhaustive LCCA study it became obvious that the best system suited was a combination of ALL ELECTRIC Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems couple with Dedicated Outside Air Systems. In addition, the larger spaces such as theatres and gymnasiums, we selected large energy efficient packaged heat pumps. Note: The central plant system studied, did not payback due to the schools limited hours of operation, compared to say, a hospital which has 24/7 operational hours.

The VRF and Heat Pumps systems are also very user friendly and can be serviced by the District Maintenance Staff, saving significant outside maintenance expense.   NOTE: All project images are preliminary designs.

Folsom Cordova Unified School District

Folsom, CA

Rainforth Grau Architects

Project Value

Project Area
310,000 SF

Completion Date
Est. 2023

Delivery Method

HVAC Design
Plumbing Design
Title 24 Review
Energy Modeling
Lifecycle Cost Analysis
Fire Sprinkler Criteria

Title 24
Full Electrification