School district saves on energy costs

By David Forrester

In September 2008, the Baldwin Community Schools elected to proceed with a guaranteed Energy Performance Contract to achieve needed improvements for the District without having to seek funding from the community. Energy Performance Contracting allows districts to make improvements and pay for those improvements with the savings created by the energy efficient upgrades and replacements. As equipment and facilities age they become less efficient and less productive, due to extended use and new energy efficient advances. When energy efficient equipment is installed the energy consumption of the District decreases and results in savings. This allows the school district to spend fewer dollars on building upgrades and direct more of its resources to the classroom.

Baldwin Community Schools entered into a Performance Contract with Technical Energy Performance Group near the end of 2008. The project commenced in January of 2009 and was completed later that same year. The project consisted of new lighting, new boilers, energy recovery ventilators, water conservation, a building energy management system, variable frequency drives and concessions machine controls. The total cost of the project was just over $823,000 and was guaranteed to achieve a calculated utility savings of $79,550 per year for a period of ten years.

A report was presented to the Board of Education after the first year of the project. The monitored, measured and verified data information showed a total savings of $83,754 for the first year, which was $4,204 greater than originally anticipated.

However, the program and savings do not stop here for the District. As part of this energy program District staff work closely with Technical Energy Performance Group to continuously monitor, adjust and look for new ways to save energy and to improve the learning environment for the students and staff of Baldwin Community Schools. Through continued monitoring, verification, training and new system strategies this is a sustainable project that will lead to additional savings into the future.