By Greg Bird
Last year’s major overhaul of McCreary school facilities has proven to be a major savings in overall energy costs for the District.
At Thursday night’s meeting of the McCreary County Board of Education a presentation by Adam Pierce from CMTA Energy Solutions showed the Board how the savings on overall energy costs were higher than expected and energy and maintenance costs were drastically reduced.
Last summer the Board agreed to enter in to a Guaranteed Energy Savings Contract with CMTA, which included a $9 million upgrade to lighting and HVAC systems for District facilities. The upgrades would effectively pay for themselves in savings over the next 10 years.
Over the 2016 summer break CMTA oversaw installing new lighting and equipment in all school facilities designed to reduce energy and maintenance costs.
Pierce stated over the past seven years the School District had been paying an average of about $800,000 each year in energy costs for all facilities. This year, the first full year after the change: that cost dropped by nearly 50 percent to just over $432,000. With rebates and reduced operations and maintenance costs factored in the actual savings for the entire District was about $540,000.
With a bond payment of $459,000 for the year, an excess savings of over $88,000 was realized by the District.
The two biggest beneficiaries of the changes were McCreary Central High School and McCreary County Middle School that combined for nearly $120,000 in reduced energy costs alone.
In addition to energy-efficient LED lighting installed in all schools, all HVAC systems received a major cleaning and overhaul and many of the schools got new equipment installed that will cut down on energy usage.
The systems installed allow school personnel to monitor energy usage, and will better regulate heating and air conditioning to run only when needed.
The total project is estimated to cost about $9 million over the next 10 years, with over 90 percent of it to be paid through energy cost savings. Additionally, CMTA guarantees a level of savings every year. If the District fails to meet the target savings, CMTA would pay the difference.