Ala. schools to modernize facilities, reduce annual energy spending
Gadsden City Schools in northeast Alabama is partnering with energy and sustainability firm Schneider Electric on a comprehensive energy efficiency project that will help the district modernize its 14 campuses.
The project will allow the district to drive efficiency and reduce its annual operating costs by 27 percent, according to a press release. The operational savings will be reinvested, helping the district to improve the learning environment for students, faculty and staff.
“We are extremely committed to modernizing our district with new technology in order to stay competitive and create a 21st century learning environment for our students,” said Dr. Ed Miller, superintendent of Gadsden City Schools. “Through our partnership, we will be able to address a growing number of deferred maintenance projects that we previously did not have the manpower or funds to tackle.”
The $9.2 million project is being funded by an energy savings performance contract (ESPC), where utility and operational savings are used to fund the renovations. Savings will come from a wide variety of measures that improve energy efficiency and enhance the learning environment, including:
- Brightening classrooms with interior LED lighting and controls
- Improving campus safety at night with exterior LED lighting
- Enhancing the athletic experience with LED lighting in gymnasiums
- Streamlining operations with a district-wide building automation system
- Saving energy and improving comfort with extensive sealing of windows, doors, gaps and cracks across all buildings
- Enhancing communication with the installation of a district-wide VoIP telecommunications system
- Replacing windows at the historic board of education building
- Implementing water reduction technologies, including district-wide replacement of water fountains
- Improving building comfort and reducing burden on maintenance staff with HVAC replacements at multiple facilities
“Like many schools across the nation, Gadsden City Schools found itself in a deferred maintenance trap,” said Tammy Fulop, vice president of Schneider Electric. “We’re proud to help the district invest in modernization and allow administrators to create best-in-class learning environments while becoming leaders in sustainability.”
In addition to the facilities improvements, the project will make a significant environmental impact by removing 1,500 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, which is equivalent to removing 321 cars from the road or planting nearly 40,000 trees.
Construction is underway and is expected to be complete by fall 2018.
The project builds on Schneider Electric’s expertise in energy efficiency projects in Alabama. In addition to its work with Gadsden City Schools, Schneider Electric has implemented more than $210 million in energy efficiency projects for more than 40 clients and helped public entities secure more than $60 million in energy-related grants and rebates.