Oxford High earns $44K for energy efficiencies

news_education_greenBy Errol Castens

Daily Journal

OXFORD – Utility officials presented Oxford School District Superintendent Brian Harvey a $44,439.60 rebate on Monday for energy-saving efficiencies built into the new Oxford High School.

The rebate reflects 10 cents per kilowatt-hour of projected savings in the 220,000-square-foot school’s first year of operation. Among upgrades are motion detectors that cut back lighting and climate control in unoccupied rooms, along with low-heat, high-visibility lighting systems.

“The superintendent and school board … went above and beyond basic standards and made improvements that were above code,” said TVA regional marketing manager David Sharp.

“We thought it was important on the front end to design a school that was energy efficient so that we wouldn’t continually be spending more and more money on utility bills,” Harvey said. “We see it as a moral responsibility to take care of the things that have been given to us as well as a fiscal responsibility to our community.”

Mayor Pat Patterson said, “Great communities have great schools, and this certainly qualifies. Brian, we’re proud of what you did here, and I know how hard the struggle was. It’s a great partnership and a great community.”

Utility representatives say Oxford School District’s experimentation serves all TVA ratepayers.

“Some of these new programs are expensive when they’re starting out, so you need a training ground to make sure everything is going well,” said Keith Hayward, general manager of North East Mississippi Electric Power Association, which, with Oxford Electric Department, serves Oxford schools. “This money gets collected from … all nine million TVA ratepayers. This is actually their money that comes back to a school, an organization or a community that’s willing to be a testing ground.”

Sharp agreed.

“From TVA’s perspective, this goes into lower rates and higher reliability,” he said. “It’s a culmination of a partnership between the city, the schools, the local power companies, the economic development organizations and TVA.”

errol.castens@journalinc.com