District 17 gets $96,076 check from Progress Energy program
December 16, 2010
Sumter School District 17 received a $96,076 rebate check from Progress Energy's Energy Efficiency for Business program Tuesday night during the Board of Trustees meeting.
Gary Andrews, a representative for Progress Energy, said this is the biggest rebate to any school system in South Carolina.
"This is the first chance we've had to highlight a real success story," he said.
Not only did the school earn nearly $100,000 in rebate because of the changes it made in seven schools, but the district will also save about $100,000 in energy costs during the next year, Andrews said.
"School districts are struggling financially," said Allen Johnson, District 17's director of maintenance and grounds. "Everybody has had to make cuts. In a school district, you can really only make cuts in two places, personnel and energy."
The seven schools that received upgrades to their heating, ventilation and air condition controls were Bates Middle, Lemira Elementary, Crosswell Drive Elementary, Wilder Elementary, Alice Drive Elementary, Alice Drive Middle school and Sumter High schools. The upgrades allow operators to control temperatures at these facilities from a central location and set systems to adjust automatically at night, on weekends and during holidays. Johnson said the district can also now diagnose and fix certain problems without having to send someone out to the school.
"It's saving time and money," he said.
Johnson said the plan is to use the rebate money to initiate more energy-saving changes, which in turn will save the district more money and possibly lead to another rebate check.
As part of a separate project, the district had been changing to more energy efficient light bulbs. This money from Progress Energy will be used to complete that project and then to upgrade the HVAC units at some other schools around the district. Johnson said his staff will now analyze the energy usage at the remaining schools in District 17 to find the ones with the "worst energy costs" and address them.
The total project cost about $400,000, Johnson said. Roughly $175,000 of that was a grant from the S.C. Energy Office, $150,000 was bond money and another $50,000 was a low-interest loan, Johnson said.
Although Johnson credits his energy manager, Clyde Chan, for the original proposal, he said this project took teamwork across the district and with partners such as Progress Energy, the S.C. Energy Office and Control Management Incorporated.
"It was a tremendous effort," Johnson said. "I'm proud of the fact it turned out so well. I'm proud to say it was a success, and we hope to build off it."
(taken from TheItem.com