Tight budgets and availability of new energy resources are prompting school districts nationwide to find savings in energy efficiency projects and upgrades.
Cambridge City Schools in Ohio is collaborating with Energy Optimizers, USA to deploy an energy conservation project that will reduce energy waste while freeing up capital to spent on educational resources. Through a series of upgrades and investments, Cambridge City Schools expects to save $133,111 annually in reduced energy costs.
Through the energy efficiency initiative, the Ohio school district and Energy Optimizers, USA, will lower energy use across all facilities by:
- Replacing interior lighting with efficient resources
- Replacing exterior lighting with LED technology
- Installing advanced energy management controls for real time monitoring
- Installing dynamic air filtration systems
- Installing energy saving features to kitchen exhaust fans and coolers
- Adding IT enhancements to reduce electronic plug load
The funding to support these projects will come from the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission’s House Bill 24 program that provides the necessary capital without tapping into taxpayer dollars. The project will be completed this spring, and all upfront costs are expected to be paid back within 11 years.
The Great Meadows School District in New Jersey is also embarking on an energy savings plan for its three facilities that is estimated to cost $2.6 million initially. The energy efficiency strategy calls for:
- Lighting upgrades
- Boiler replacements
- Hot water replacements
- Efficiency motors
- Cooling tower refurbishment
- Natural gas conversion
- Building management system upgrades
- Demand control ventilation
- Building envelope improvement
- LED lighting
The conversion to natural gas would require the school district to install a natural gas line that would be available to the school facilities as well as nearby residents. Ohio has an Energy Savings Improvement Program that ensures energy efficiency projects are supported without taxpayer dollars. The $2.6 million efficiency program will be funded by a bank loan with a 3 percent interest rate once it is complete. All energy savings generated from the project are expected to pay back the loan within 15 years. There will also be an estimated $176,000 in state rebates and incentives available to the school district, NJ.com reported.
Kingsport City Schools in Tennessee are in the third year of their energy efficiency program and the savings are already exceeding expectations. At its launch, the Kingsport City Schools efficiency program called for $5.1 million in energy upgrades.
The district received funding through a 12-year loan of $5 million at a 0.75 percent interest rate, as well as a $127,000 grant. Over the next 15 years, the school district is projected to save $6 million in lowered utility costs and $3 million in avoided maintenance costs. Three years into the program, the district has saved $881,195, well beyond the $697,008 that was expected, Times News reported.