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Effort to save energy working for schools
Cox, Bobby new mugshot.jpg
Bobby Cox

A plan to lower the school system’s annual $1.6 million energy bill is working.

Recent upgrades by Energy Savings Group have resulted in over 30 percent savings at Dibrell School. Director of Schools Bobby Cox shared an update with the School Board.

In April 2017, the base electric bill for Dibrell School was $9,046. This April after Energy Savings Group upgrades, the electric bill was $6,191. That’s a $2,855 change, which is a 31.5 percent decrease in electric cost. Multiply that by one year and that’s a savings of $34,260 for the year in just one school.

“We’re starting to track the numbers a little bit and decided to start with Dibrell since it’s about 90 percent complete,” said Cox. “Most of the other schools are about 70 percent complete. But you can see the potential for savings. If we can save over $34,000 just at Dibrell, and multiply that by 13 buildings, we’re approaching a half million dollars in savings a year.”

Added school system maintenance director Donnie Caldwell, “It should get better than that because we haven’t got all the lights up outside and in the gym.”

Cox added new central heating and air units will be installed at Dibrell this summer which should produce more savings.

WCHS is by far the largest building the school system maintains, Cox said, followed by WCMS.

“The project is going extremely well and we are starting to see the results we expected,” said Cox. “The heating and air units and controls will go in this summer so we hope by August or September we start seeing the full impact of the upgrades.”

At the encouragement of the School Board, the Warren County Commission approved a $9.2 million project with Energy Systems Group in December to make local schools more energy efficient. ESG promised the energy savings would more than pay for the $9.2 million expenditure or ESG would make up the difference.

So far, a total of 7,463 fixtures have been converted to LED lighting with 2,915 remaining.

The rough-in wiring has been completed at Eastside, Irving College and Dibrell. Installation of WCMS gymnasium duct work is complete, while Hickory Creek boiler demo began last week. Insulating and weather stripping has been installed on all exterior doors at all the schools, a total of 609 main doors and 15 overhead doors.