Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 20, 2013

Energy upgrades will save Greenup schools $100K

Mike James
The Independent

LLOYD — Work will begin soon in Greenup County schools on lighting and ventilation system upgrades officials estimate will save the district close to $100,000 annually.

Fluorescent light fixtures in six of the district’s seven schools will be overhauled to accept a new and more efficient bulb, building and grounds director Jack McCleese said. The recently remodeled high school already has the new fixtures.

The new-style bulb uses less energy and emits a better, brighter light, McCleese said. The old-style bulbs have been phased out and are no longer available.

Outside lighting also will be changed to accept LED bulbs. The five-year life of the bulbs will not only save money in energy costs but in costs related to replacement, because the district has to rent a lift to access the bulbs, McCleese said.

The contractor will install operating systems for heating and air conditioning at Argillite and McKell elementaries that, along with existing similar systems at other district schools, will be linked to a web-based control system.

Currently McCleese can control systems at the other schools from his office desktop computer. With the web-based, password-protected system, he and authorized district staffers will be able to change temperature settings from any remote computer with web access.

That can be important because although systems already are set to automatically power down in the evenings and then back up in the morning before students get to school, remote access will enable more convenient changes on a case-by-case basis to individual rooms or areas.

For instance, if McCleese were called upon while out of town to bump up the temperature in an elementary school gym for an evening event, he could do it via a laptop and internet connection.

Teachers and students also will be able to access the energy-use website and, although they won't have passwords to adjust controls, will be able to observe energy use data.

Teachers will be able to use the data as teaching tools and schools will be encouraged to compete with one another to conserve energy.

Also being replaced are some pumps that are part of the air system.

The price tag for the improvements is $1.33 million and the money will come from bonds the district will repay over the next 15 years.

The district expects to save $98,450 per year. The environmental impact is estimated to be the equivalent to 2,288 barrels of oil not burned or eight acres of forest preserved from deforestation.

McCleese expects work to start on the lights in a week or so and be completed by the end of April; the entire project should be done by November.

MIKEā€ˆJAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.