West Virginia Schools Cut Energy Use By 78% in One Year

An energy-management project for schools in Berkeley County, West Virginia, that began in June 2016 produced a net 78% reduction in energy use to date, according to the school district. Working with the firm CMTA Consulting Engineers, Berkeley County Schools’s $28.3 million project has also netted $701,000 more than the savings initially guaranteed, Superintendent Manny Arvon told Herald Mail Media.

The intensive project involved upgrades that included replacing boilers and chillers, installing 20,000 LED fixtures, adding new plumbing fixtures, caulking windows, and weatherstripping doors, the district reported. The geothermal systems installed at Mill Creek Intermediate School, Opequon Elementary School, and Valley View Elementary School contributed to the 78% reduction in energy use over the past year. Geothermal systems will be added to several other elementary schools in the area this summer.

Jeremy Smith, project lead and vice president of CMTA Energy Solutions, described how the changes have had benefits beyond energy and cost savings. The air quality has improved, and the decibel level from HVAC in one school went from a vacuum cleaner three feet away to “a quiet library,” Herald Mail Media reported.

A number of school districts across the U.S. have embarked on ambitious energy-reduction projects, including Marshall County Schools in West Virginia, Boulder Valley School District in Colorado, and the Hacienda la Puente Unified School District in California.

CMTA Consulting Engineers estimates that the project in Berkeley County should be completed by November 21. “This has been a learning process,” Arvon told WEPM, describing the project. “It’s been a cultural change on how we use our buildings and how we clean our buildings.”

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