NA schools OK energy upgrade

At a specially called meeting in Jackson Monday, the New Albany School District’s board of Trustees approved a $2.8 million-dollar project to upgrade the energy efficiency of its heating and cooling systems, as well as lighting at all of its schools.

According to New Albany School District Superintendent Jackie Ford, the proposed savings over the long term for the district is at least $1.9 million over the next 15 years.
The board approved the lease purchase and issued bonds for tax notices.  
“Our intent is to pay back the lease purchase in monthly payments,” Ford said. “The remainder of the payments will be through the tax notices, which will be paid in semi-annual payments.”
Last year, the New Albany School Board approved Schneider Electric, headquartered in Palatine, Ill., to perform an energy study on the school district and find cost-saving measures to make all of the schools in the district more energy efficient and cost effective.
Without any out-of-pocket expenses, Schneider Electric came out to the New Albany schools and conducted an energy study.
Emily Kent, account executive, Energy Solutions Buildings Business, came to several board meetings throughout 2012 updating the board members on what the workers are finding.
Kent said that the first reason why an energy study is conducted is to see if there is potential for energy savings and to have a facilities upgrade done.
“We do two studies to see if we can qualify you and if we are a good fit for your district. It only qualifies for certain districts and you are lucky that you qualify for these upgrades and savings. The first study we did was to see if there was energy savings potential. There was – you guys passed with flying colors, so we moved on to the next energy study, which was where we bring our engineers out at no cost to the district to further investigate your energy savings opportunities,” said Kent. “We look at the building, how it is run, and more things and we look at if you will have enough savings to cover the cost of the project.”
The New Albany School District’s annual utilities expenditures are approximately $447,448 each year. With this project, the district will be able to save at least 15 percent in savings, which would be approximately $69,000 in savings each year.
Kent said, “I was pleased with the energy savings results. That is going to get you a lot of savings for the district and a tremendous amount of facility upgrades. And, also because of your location, you will also get more of a benefit because you are in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) district. We are one of TVA’s preferred partners, so we are able to get a lot of rebates for you, equipment or services we provide.”
“Our main priority is to help save money, help with mechanical issues at the middle school and the high school specifically, and to save money in the long run. I want to help plan for the future and invest money wisely,” said Kent.
At New Albany High School, Schneider Electric will replace the boiler that is failing at the school with 17 new rooftop units, add new duct zone work in the cafeteria and classrooms, roof support will be added where required to support the weight of the new equipment, in order to increase aesthetic appeal, HVAC equipment will be removed from the classrooms, and two new duct heaters will be added to the auditorium to solve comfort and efficiency issues.
In the office at the high school, Schneider Electric plans to add one condensing unit to serve four cooling units, which will provide more effective cooling. The company also plans to add window tinting to regulate temperature.
At the middle school, Schneider Electric will replace the boiler with four new rooftop units, new duct zone work will be done in the cafeteria and classrooms, roof support will be added where required to support the weight of the new equipment, in order to increase aesthetic appeal, HVAC equipment will be removed from the classrooms, the company will add variable pumping to the current water source heat pump system, 22 new valves on current water loop system will be installed, and the company plans to optimize water temperature and increase efficiency and control of current system.
“At all of the cafeterias, we will install freezer monitors and alarms that will help prevent food loss and eliminates the need for staff to physically monitor equipment. If an alarm goes off, a text message can be sent to someone so they know to come and see what the problem is,” said Kent.
The new Energy Management System (EMS) will provide automatic HVAC scheduling and operations district-wide. One hundred and forty-seven new thermostats will be added, along with 12 new temperature sensors. At the high school, middle school, alternative school, administration building, and at the New Albany School of Career and Technical Education, a new EMS will be added. At the elementary school, there will be a new Schneider Electric user interface added and there will be upgrades to the EMS.
District-wide, a PC power save will be implemented to save energy when computers are not in use. This will encompass over 675 computers district-wide. Kent said that this is one of the biggest amounts of energy savings.
In addition, there will be district-wide lighting retrofits. District-wide, 2,560 fixtures will be replaced or retrofitted.
“We will replace the lighting with T-12 electronic ballasts that are more energy efficient and will save money in the long run,” said Kent.
The work is scheduled to begin before Spring Break. The project completion from beginning to end is nine months.
“We were investigating to see if there is enough energy savings to cover the cost of the project. Our goal is for a self-funding project, so energy savings that you are going to achieve from these facilities upgrades will pay for the upgrades that we are installing. If for some reason you don’t need the energy upgrades or energy savings that we guarantee to you, we will cut you a check for the difference,” said Kent.
Under the contract, the school district does not have to pay any upfront expenses and will not pay anything until Jan. 25, 2014.