Alabama School District to Generate More Than $6M in Energy, Operational Savings

Credit: Xin F.

Monroe County School System in Monroeville, Alabama, is taking on a modernization project that is expected to generate $6.2 million in energy and operational savings, reducing the district’s annual utility budget by 32%.

The project focuses on LED lighting upgrades, the installation of a district-wide building automation system and upgrades to heating and cooling systems. The school district is partnering with Schneider Electric, with funding from an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) where utility and operational savings are used to fund the renovations with no burden on local taxpayers.

Nine schools and a central office will undergo improvements and upgrades such as:

  • District-wide interior and exterior LED lighting upgrades
  • Gymnasium LED lighting upgrades
  • Occupancy sensors to turn off lights when rooms are vacant, significantly reducing energy use
  • Installation of a district-wide building automation system to automate HVAC operations and increase visibility into energy management
  • Upgrading aging heating and cooling systems
  • Building envelop upgrades to better seal facilities and reduce draftiness
  • Water conservation upgrades

“Public entities, like schools, face limited budgets with specific rules that dictate how budgets can be spent,” Tammy Fulop, Vice President of Schneider Electric, told Energy Manager Today. “School districts want to keep as many of those dollars in the classroom as they can, and the energy savings performance contract allows them to pay for infrastructure needs without diverting funding from the classroom — and without raising taxes.”

“School buildings tend to be older and often have a stockpile of deferred maintenance issues. School districts also often operate with a lean facility staff who can’t tackle these complex projects. An energy engineering specialist can come in and design a comprehensive solution to address all the issues at once. These connected solutions can generate even more savings while also providing district leaders a holistic view of their energy usage.”

Construction will begin later this month and will be nearly complete in time for the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

Several schools across the US have recently begun energy improvements. In July, the Springfield Local School District in Akron, Ohio, announced the start of an energy efficiency project that is projected to save more than $82,000 on annual utility and operational costs.

And in May, Putnam Valley Central School District, north of New York City, announced that it signed an EPSC with Con Edison Solutions, a competitive retailer and energy services provider. The pact is designed to significantly improve the energy efficiency of the district’s buildings and infrastructure, enhance the learning environment through improved comfort, and slow the pace of escalating energy costs — with guaranteed savings of $380,000 annually.

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