Dawson-Bryant considers energy saving upgrades

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 7, 2010

Superintendent Dennis DeCamp is hoping being green will save some green for the Dawson-Bryant School District.

At its last meeting, the board of education heard from three companies that are interested in providing the school buildings with some energy efficient upgrades.

The upgrades will include, among other improvements, changes to the schools’ heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, as well as the lighting system.

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Motion sensors will control the high school’s lighting and HV/AC system, automatically adjusting or switching off when rooms are not in use.

The Energy Conservation Program, which is frequently called the Ohio House Bill 264 program after a law passed in 1985, allows the district to secure low interest loans for the purposes of energy conservation efforts.

Districts can then pay off the loans with the savings that result from the upgrades.

While the cost to the district for the upgrades could be between a $500,000 to $1 million, DeCamp estimates that the district stands to cut down on its energy bills by as much as $75,000 to $90,0000 each year.

“We’re trying to cut costs in areas that are taking away from what we’re doing with kids in our classrooms,” DeCamp said.

The companies, DeCamp said, will guarantee the savings and reimburse the district if it does not save as much as the company said it would.

“It’s a guaranteed return on our investment,” DeCamp said.

Energy service companies Perfection Group, Brewer-Garrett and Sabo/Limbach each gave presentations at the meeting.

The Lawrence County Commissioners hired Perfection Group for similar upgrades to some of the county’s buildings.

So far some lighting and a boiler has been replaced at the courthouse and plumbing work is being done at the jail.

Windows at the courthouse will also be replaced.

Commissioner Jason Stephens said the new boiler is already saving the county money.

“It was replaced in February and our electric bill was $1,000 less,” he said. “The effect of the boiler is already starting to show.”

A program similar to House Bill 264, House Bill 295 allows governments to secure loans for energy efficient upgrades.

The project will cost the county roughly $800,000 and provide a savings of about $75,000 on energy bills each year, Stephens said.

The Dawson-Bryant Board of Education hopes to choose one of the companies by April and begin work over the summer while classes are not in session, DeCamp said.