Monday, October 20, 2014

Energy audit aims for Central Heights savings

By ABBY ECKEL, Herald Staff Writer | 6/21/2013

RICHMOND — Central Heights’ improvements won’t end with those repairs funded by the district’s recently passed bond issue.

School board members voted 6-0 Monday night to allow Energy360 Solutions to proceed with a final energy audit that would look at which energy items were currently in need of repair or replacement to assist in energy cost savings, Jim White, Central Heights superintendant, said.

RICHMOND — Central Heights’ improvements won’t end with those repairs funded by the district’s recently passed bond issue.

School board members voted 6-0 Monday night to allow Energy360 Solutions to proceed with a final energy audit that would look at which energy items were currently in need of repair or replacement to assist in energy cost savings, Jim White, Central Heights superintendant, said.

“In essence, what [the board members] agreed on was a high-grade audit or construction-grade audit that would give us exact numbers so we would know exactly what [the upgrades] would cost,” White said. “As of right now, if they look at [the audit] and the numbers don’t match and it won’t pay for itself and it’s more costly than what the board expected, then the only cost the board will be out is what the audit cost them. But they won’t have to go on with the project.”

The Energy360 project was brought to the school board before the bond issue was put on the table, White said. Funds from the newly passed bond issue are expected to fix the roof at the school, build a new locker and weight room at the sports complex, upgrade kitchen appliances, replace bleachers in the gymnasium, replace seating in the auditorium and build a new band room, according to the Central Heights website.

The Energy360 project is planned to repair and/or replace heating and cooling rooftop units, place a new heating and cooling unit in the theater, replace all lighting in the gymnasium, replace lighting in the elementary school, reconfigure the lighting at the sports complex, change and update all electronic controls for thermostats, retrofit the plumbing so there’s less water consumption and update all exterior lighting on the school building, White said.

“That project came in for cost estimates at between $500,000 and $600,000,” White said. “[Energy360 Solutions] is projecting they can save us about $47,000 a year. That would pay for itself in about 10 to 11 years.”

The energy plan has been discussed at board meetings since September, White said. At the May school board meeting, board members tabled moving forward with the project to see if the bond issue passed.

“Part of what could’ve been included in this [energy project] was a new roof,” he said. “If the bond would’ve failed, then the board may have wanted to pursue that option in this package to help pay for the new roof. We had to have a new roof, the leaks were just about to become unbearable. So one way or another we were going to have to have a new roof this summer.”

The repairs and replacements ultimately will pay for themselves, White said, but the up-front cost will be taken out of savings.

“[The project] won’t affect taxpayers at all,” he said. “I think this is a nice step in the right direction. It will give us better energy use and in the long run save the school district significant energy dollars.”

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