MELVERN—At a special meeting Wednesday evening, the USD 456 Board of Education met with Energy 360 representative Joe Hurla to discuss observations made by the energy audit company on areas for potential energy savings in both the high school and elementary school buildings.
Beginning with the elementary school, Hurla said the main facility is heated by a 50 year-old hot water boiler, and even though it’s relatively well maintained, the average working life of that equipment is 25-30 years.
“If that failed tonight, what would be your vision of replacement time?” asked Robert Bailey, board member.
“If it were to fail and you needed to replace it entirely, you could probably have it up and functional in three weeks,” said Hurla.
Hurla said that time would depend on how long it takes to obtain the equipment needed for replacement.
“The reality is, if it were to fail now, maybe you would have heat up and running again this year,” he said.
Energy 360 recommended being proactive by installing new heating and cooling systems. Packaged Rooftop Units was the recommended system to replace the current heating and cooling system.
“The initial cost of putting in those units is significantly less,” said Hurla. “And over time, it’s also significantly less expensive than other options.”
The heating and cooling system installed at the high school includes a boiler and new cooling units installed in 2005. Hurla said while it may not be ideal, it probably has more shelf life left in the equipment than what’s at the elementary building.
The group also made recommendations based on lighting of the schools.
Hurla said that while the facilities were in pretty good shape, lit by standard efficiency T8 lighting, 20 percent of the elementary school is still the antiquated T12 lighting, whereas T8 lighting became standard in 1996.
“Our recommendation would be the LED’s, and the reason is while the payback is slightly better by going to the more efficient T8’s, when you look at it over a longer period of time, your life cycle cost is actually lower by the LED’s,” said Hurla.
Plumbing upgrades were also discussed, including the recommendation of sink aerators, replacing urinal flush valves with lower flow flush valves and replacing the high water usage tank-type toilets with newer toilets that use less water to flush.
A walkway between the elementary school and the new addition to the elementary school, to keep people out of the weather, was also discussed. Superintendent Darrel Finch stated that the estimate on that was $15,000 to $20,000.
“Trying to address, really, both the high school and elementary school simultaneously… that leads to a significant cost,” admitted Hurla.
He said the anticipated compressive cost of the work is between $2.4 and $2.8 million. The cost would include the design, construction, materials, labor, and so forth.
“One reason that’s worth knowing is, as you guys are thinking, not just about, ‘okay, what do we do this summer?’ but also ‘where do we need to be in the next five years?’” said Hurla.
After considering possible financial scenarios, Hurla said the most critical item is elementary heating and cooling.
“The other items, because they actually have those attractive paybacks, help to really fund getting the elementary heating and cooling done,” he said. “Those items help make your net payment less to implement the heating and cooling system.”
The overall goals established by the Energy 360 Group are to find the best way to take care of the heating and cooling at the elementary school and to modernize that proactively.
“While financially it’s not the easiest project to bear, I think it does fit within the limitations of the district at this point and is certainly a solid first step,” said Hurla.