Something Old and Something New: Identifying Energy Savings in K-12 Schools

By Alison Berry, JDM Associates on Mar 16, 2017

Increasingly, K-12 schools across the country provide learning opportunities in unexpected places, with new, exciting subject matter such as energy efficiency. For instance our Better Buildings Challenge K-12 partners are implementing innovative, educational energy practices across their campuses with two new showcase projects showing how school districts can maximize energy efficiency and save money.

Warner Middle School, part of the Xenia Community Schools District in Ohio, was built in 1962 and long overdue for energy upgrades. Through an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC), the district chose to make LED upgrades to lighting in the on-site bus maintenance garage, and to use an energy services agreement (ESA) to build HVAC controls. Using an ESPC allowed the district to have guaranteed  savings while outsourcing the project management. The ESA had similar benefits – a third party is responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the controls. Warner Middle School estimates a 17 percent reduction of EUI (that’s $23,000 in savings) as a result of the LED and HVAC upgrades. 

Older school buildings aren’t the only ones that can benefit from a closer look into energy usage. Vista Peak Preparatory, an Aurora Public Schools high school in Colorado, was certified LEED Gold in 2013; however, the EUI was still far higher than expected. The district decided the school’s HVAC system needed a full recommissioning, a project expected to take 14 months. Recommissioning the HVAC system will allow the school to identify any inconsistencies in instrumentation or air circulation. Once completed, the district and Vista Peak Prep expect 20 percent savings on EUI, equating to $50,000 per year.

For more information on these showcase projects, check out Warner Middle School and Vista Peak Preparatory in the Better Buildings Solution Center.

Explore all the ways to finance an energy efficiency project, with the Better Buildings Financing Navigator.