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Schools looking to save energy
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The Warren County School System is looking to save money when it comes to energy.

During the most recent School Board meeting, two representatives from Energy Systems Group presented a proposal. ESG is a company that offers energy-saving solutions.

“Really our goal from the beginning is to develop a project, at its base, that takes care of its core needs, provides a large amount of savings that can pay for the majority of the project and at the end of the day, that’s what we’ve been working on the past five months,” said ESG representative Josh McNeal.

According to McNeal, after examining all the school buildings, analysis and numerous meetings with school system maintenance director Donnie Caldwell, they have identified core facility needs. These districtwide needs include LED lighting, weatherization, and control systems.

In his presentation, McNeal provided two project options to address district-wide building needs:

Option 1 – The scope of work would include comprehensive LED lighting, district-wide controls, Hickory Creek boiler and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) replacements for WCMS, Bobby Ray, Eastside, Irving College and West. Estimated cost, $7.6 million.

Option 2 – The same scope of work included in Option 1 with additional HVAC at WCMS, Central Office and Dibrell, WCHS coil replacement and weatherization. Estimated cost, $9.2 million.

“So, it will cost a total of $9.2 million to replace the equipment, change lighting over to LED inside and outside our buildings, along with major HVAC replacements,” said Director of Schools Bobby Cox to the board. “In doing all that, by the time we pay for it over a 20-year period, we should come out saving $1.2 million. We would pay a little off the front end and the energy savings will pay for the majority of the costs.”

Asked School Board member James Bennett, “What’s the timeframe on completion on whichever option we decide to go with?”

“With all the different HVAC upgrades, we’d say around 12 months,” explained McNeal. “The lighting we would begin immediately, which would probably take three months. We’d work night shifts so your savings would start accruing from the start so I’d anticipate it would take a year to complete.” 

The School Board approved Option 2. Further approval will be needed by the Warren County Commission. First stop will likely be the county’s Education Committee.