The district received the $20,618 check because they made significant energy-saving upgrades in the elementary, middle and high schools toward the end of 2011.
The upgrades were part of Ohio House Bill 264, an energy conservation program that allows school districts to make energy-efficiency improvements to their buildings and then use the cost savings to pay for the improvements.
“I want to commend the school board for taking the initiative to install energy efficient equipment,” Michelle Kolb, account manager for Duke Energy, said when she presented the check.
Kolb said it may seem odd for an energy company to reward customers for not using energy, but conserving energy prevents Duke from having to construct another power plant to meet energy demands.
Kolb said because of all the energy-saving improvements the school district made, Duke is able to present board members with a check.
She said she expects the district will receive an additional $12,000 before the year is over.
“We planned on this as part of the project,” Michael Ashmore, treasurer for the district, said about the rebate.
Ashmore said the district should receive close to $32,000 from Duke as part of the project and the money will be used to repay loans to offset the cost of the improvements.
The entire project, which Ashmore said included replacement boilers at the middle school, new windows at the middle school cafeteria, a new HVAC system for the special education building, installation of high efficiency lights and more, cost $520,000.
“It was well worth the effort and we are going to reap the benefits year after year,” Michael Enriquez, board president, said about the improvements.
Ashmore said the district will continue to use the savings to pay for the improvements, and he said the improvements should pay for themselves within 15 years.
“The capital improvements that were made, even the lighting retrofitting, those things would need to be replaced anyway,” Ashmore said. “It’s helping our long-term capital budget because we wouldn’t be able to come up with those funds.”