New Richmond is in the middle of a $1.7 million Ohio HB264 project with Energy Optimizers that will make its buildings energy efficient and result in enough energy savings to pay for the project in 12.8 years.
“There will be an initial investment, but we expect that cost to be recovered with electrical usage savings,” said NREVSD Supt. Adam Bird.
HB264 allows school districts to make energy efficiency improvements to their buildings, borrow money to pay for those improvements without having to pass a ballot issue and use the cost savings to pay off the loans. With interest on savings being less than 2 percent and interest on loans being more than 4 percent, the NREVSD will pay cash for the project for additional savings.
Included in the project are:
1. Energy efficient light bulbs will replace old technology bulbs in every building of the district.
2. Heating and Air Conditioning systems will be controlled by a digital system that will allow Principals and Head Custodians to control remotely by computer or iPad.
3. The steam boiler at NRHS that is original to the building (1965) will be replaced by a more energy efficient boiler and a system of smaller and strategically placed hot water heaters.
4. NRHS pool water and air will be heated with a high efficiency natural gas system.
5. Increased use of motion sensors to control lighting and heating systems when spaces are not in use.
All parts of the energy conservation program had to be reviewed and approved by the Ohio School Facilities Commission allowing the projects to go to contract without open bidding.
The most expensive parts of the project are $343,200 for lighting enhancements and $319,800 for the high school boiler plant and pool HVAC improvements.
“The lighting improvements have a 4.93 year payback,” noted Bird. “Our current HS steam boiler was installed when the building was built in the ‘60’s. It has reached its limit and we are replacing it with a much more energy efficient system.”
District maintenance supervisor Glenn Beyer said the high school boiler project will begin in late October or early November but will be done in sections so the building will not be without steam for heat or hot water.
“We’re waiting for equipment to arrive that has been ordered but we will be keeping the school up and running during the work,” said Beyer. “It addition to poor efficiency, our problem at the high school is we have three different systems in the high school and they do not work very well together being controlled by one system.”
Energy Optimizers estimates that the project will have an annual fuel savings of $18,015, annual electrical savings of $92,380, an annual maintenance savings of $18,100 and qualify for a utility rebate of $41,890 from Duke Energy.
The NREVSD is doing additional energy savings projects separate from the HB264 project.
“We are doing a lot of outdoor lighting ourselves and will be getting the energy rebates from Duke ourselves,” said Beyer. “We did the main gym at the high school and are replacing the outdoor lights at the bus garage and district parking lots.”
Beyer estimates a savings of 65 percent on electric at the bus garage by replacing the outdoor halogen lights with LED lighting.
“The LED lights have an estimated lifetime of from five to 10 years,” said Beyer. “And we were replacing some of the lights at the bus garage every year.”
Other energy projects by the NREVSD include replacing three dozen rooftop HVAC units at New Richmond Elementary that were beyond their estimated lifespan with new more efficient units, and replacing the electric heat and aging air conditioning unit at the high school theatre.