On Tuesday the school board voted 3-2 to provisionally enter into a performance contract with Johnson Controls Inc. of Memphis to make the energy improvements.
Essentially, the improvements are expected to reduce energy costs for the district so it spends no more to finance the improvements than it already spends on the district’s various energy bills.
Initial installation costs would be paid through a combination of incentive grants from the state through MDA and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and other programs, Johnson Controls spokeswoman Cheryl Aquadro told the board.
The district qualifies for a $750,000 energy efficiency incentive through MDA and also has applied for additional state and Tennessee Valley Authority energy grants totaling more than $300,000.
The approximately $2.25 million balance would be financed through Qualified School Construction Bonds, which basically would require the school district to repay the funds over a 15-year period at almost no interest.
Finalizing the contract with Johnson Controls is contingent on the county receiving this financing package.
The performance contract guarantee is that if after the recommended energy-saving equipment is installed and the school district does not achieve the savings Johnson Controls guarantees, then Johnson Controls will pay the district that amount of savings out of its own funds.
Recommendations include district-wide lighting upgrades; installing a district-wide energy management system; heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades; fuel switching from propane to natural gas; district-wide computer power management; installing drop ceilings; replacing windows; replacing some roofs and others.
If all the changes Johnson Controls recommended are implemented, it could reduce the district’s annual energy bill by more than 25 percent, down from almost $689,000 per year to about $505,000 per year, a guaranteed savings of about $184,000 per year.