Weedsport schools announce energy performance contract

The Weedsport Central School District has a bright future to look forward to when it enters into an Energy Performance Contract with Trane U.S., Inc.

The contract seeks to upgrade both school buildings’ interior and exterior lighting infrastructure to LED lighting, install on-demand hot water heaters and software management platforms. The installation of a remote-operated pool cover, solar LED high school entrance sign and a wireless remote interface are also included in the scope of the contract.

Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance Doug Tomandl said the upgrades are long overdue.

“It’s no secret,” he said. “We’ve known we’ve needed to upgrade our lighting and utilities.”

Tomandl described the existing lighting as nearly obsolete, with light bulbs becoming harder to source.

“We still use T-12 lighting, which is non-efficient, high-usage throughout most buildings,” he said.

The Board of Education unanimously resolved at its Dec. 9 meeting to initiate the contract with Trane and begin saving the district money and energy.

Because the upgrades are considered ordinary contingent expenses, voter approval via referendum is not required. However, the district will need to establish a $2.5 million bond to cover the cost of labor and equipment.

School officials think the contract’s costs are worth the effort considering the sizable savings Weedsport stands to gain.

The projected cost of the improvements, including bond interest, is $3,292,944. The district anticipates receiving $2,112,423 in state building aid, which nets the district a total cost of $1,180,521.

The terms of the Trane contract guarantee that Weedsport will save nearly $1.8 million in energy expenses over an 18-year period. Additionally, once the work is completed the district can apply for energy improvement grants of up to $120,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and New York State Electric and Gas.

The district’s net annual cash flow benefit starts at approximately $60,000 beginning when the project is completed in the 2015-2016 school year and “gets better from there,” Tomandl said.

A bonus for the district is that by entering into the contract it remains eligible to receive state building aid because the upgrades are considered capital improvements.

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