Calloway Schools ‘go green’ with cost-savings renovation

Calloway schools ‘go green’ with heating, lighting renovation

Calloway County Schools Maintainance Director Kennith Duncan stands atop North Elementary School where rooftop heating and air units will soon be replaced as part of an efficiency renovation the school district has begun.

Calloway County Schools began a utilities renovation  last month that is expected to save the district millions of dollars and virtually pay for itself.

The Board of Education approved the more than $7 million project in November. It includes a complete heating, ventilation and air conditioning replacement at North and Southwest elementary schools, a total lighting replacement for all three elementary schools, spot lighting replacements at all schools, which includes new exterior lights at every school, among other projects.

The projects were outlined separately on the district’s 2013 facilities plan, but by making the renovations eco-friendly, Calloway schools would be able to widen the scope of the project and qualify for more state funding.

The concept is called an energy performance contract. Harshaw Trane of Louisville – the company chosen for the project – guarantees certain energy-cost savings with its new products, so Calloway only required about $4 million worth of bonding potential, while the rest of the money will be paid back to the state in the money saved by the  energy reductions.

That makes Facilities Director Kenny Duncan happy. He said it will allow the district to keep a healthy reserve budget while embarking on a huge project.

“Our board members didn’t want to use all that bonding potential because if an emergency came up and we needed to use that we would need it,” he said., “This way, we have it there to use. So what this performance contract is doing is allowing the state to expand our bonding potential to the $7.3 million. We’re using $3 million of bonding, and the rest is paid from the energy they’re going to save the district.”

Chris Jaggers, marketing leader for Trane, said it is the third largest energy-savings project the company has done in Kentucky and the only district to include a total overhaul of lighting in elementary schools.

The Calloway County School Board and the adminstration ought to be applauded for getting above the curve,” he said. “This project will save the district millions and millions of dollars down the road.”

The $4 million in energy savings that will be returned to the state for its investment will be collected over 20 years at Calloway schools. The reductions came first from a study that modeled the district’s energy usage and engineers who looked at the model to determine what kind of utilities would aid facilities the most.

“This has been in the words since October,” Duncan said. “They spent probably six months with data-loggers in the building evaluation our everyday usage. They wanted to study our habits.”

Now the installation phase is going on at the district, even while school is in session. Contractors work through the night – from 4 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next morning, so as to not disrupt classes. Then once the summer break rolls around, work will vamp up to around the clock.

“They will have everything expect for the front-end control work stuff done when the kids get back in August,” Duncan said. “They’re going to complete it that fast.”

For now, the only noticeable difference in elementary schools like North are missing ceiling tiles. Soon enough, though, Duncan said, those will be replaced with energy-saving, state-of-the-art lights and HVAC vents. All to make the schools an even better learning environment for the kids, he said.

By AUSTIN RAMSEY / Ledger & Times