The Lucerne Valley Unified School District (USD) in Lucerne Valley, CA, is completing $374,772 in facility enhancements designed to improve operations, comfort, and efficiency in three district buildings totaling more than 70,000 square feet. The Energy Solutions division of TAC, a world leader in energy services, building automation, and security, completed the work as a performance contract, TAC's first in California. TAC guarantees that Lucerne Valley USD will experience a reduction in utility costs of at least $38,000 annually as result of the project.
The Lucerne Valley USD is located in the high desert of southern California, 125 miles west of Los Angeles. The district, which has six schools and serves more than 1,000 students, faced extremely high energy costs, needed to update lighting, and wanted tools to enable their limited maintenance staff to work more effectively. TAC offered a solution that enabled the district to meet all its objectives.
"Not only was the lighting in some of our schools inefficient and inadequate, the old magnetic ballasts will be illegal in 2010," said Gary Milligan, director of maintenance and operations for Lucerne Valley USD. "We believe our self-funded district upgrade has the potential to reduce district energy expenditures by 28 percent. We are also pleased to have received a $35,000 rebate check from the local utility company, Southern California Edison."
Performance contracting is a turnkey method whereby the design, construction, commissioning, and performance measurement are incorporated into one guaranteed fixed price. Improved facility efficiency, comfort, financial management, and environmental protection are among the long-term results TAC delivers as the single provider accountable for all aspects of the project.
TAC guarantees the amount of savings performance contracting projects will achieve and agrees to pay the difference if that amount is not realized. Typically, new, more efficient equipment and upgraded facility automation systems generate the utility savings, as well as maximize energy efficiency and improve occupant comfort. Performance contracting projects are funded in a variety of ways, including general obligation bond funds, maintenance reserve funds, and financing secured against guaranteed energy savings.
The first step in TAC's solution for Lucerne Valley's facility problems was a complete lighting retrofit, replacing T12 lamps and magnetic ballasts with T8 lamps and electronic ballasts at the high school, middle school, and alternative high school. To improve operations and maintenance, TAC installed an energy management system (EMS) at both the high school and middle school. This allows maintenance staff to accurately control and monitor mechanical systems from a central workstation.
"The result of the performance contract is an improved learning environment for students, a reduction in utility costs for the district, and more efficient use of limited maintenance personnel," said Wes McDaniel, vice president of TAC Energy Solutions. "And because the Lucerne Valley USD used the money they were already spending on energy to cover the cost of all of these needed improvements, the district did not have to raise taxes or incur large debt."
McDaniel adds that TAC Energy Solutions puts the needs of customers first and offers accountability on all levels while providing turnkey solutions to reduce the energy and operational inefficiencies of building systems. "To provide enduring performance, TAC uncovers the causes of facility energy issues and focuses on diagnosis and education to ensure that each project minimizes the customer's risk while delivering relevant business value," he said.