Energy Conservation Saves School District $1.8 Million

Dec. 23, 2008
The White Oak Independent School District (ISD) in White Oak, TX, is implementing more than $1.8 million in facility enhancements designed to improve operations, comfort, and efficiency at nine district buildings totaling 413,000 square feet.

Located in the pine forests of northeast Texas, White Oak ISD serves approximately 1,300 students at four schools. A number of facility problems were recently identified, including boiler and chiller failures, poorly performing pneumatic controls, antiquated gym lighting, and high utility costs.

The school district used performance contracting to pay for the improvements. "As we faced the failure of our mechanical systems, our district did not have bond money or a large general fund to address these capital needs," says Michael Gilbert, White Oak ISD superintendent. "We are also potentially facing higher utility costs when the local power company deregulates in a few years. The performance contract provides a solution for our most pressing problems."

Performance contracting offers many long-term benefits for school districts, such as improved facility efficiency, occupant comfort, financial management, and environmental protection. Typically, new, more efficient equipment and upgraded facility automation systems maximize energy efficiency and generate utility savings.

White Oak ISD's facility challenges will be resolved with several energy-conservation measures. Mechanical-system upgrades will include installing two new boilers, two new chillers, eight new pumps, and retrofitting 10 air-handlers. A district-wide energy-management system (EMS) will tie all the systems together to ensure comfort and efficiency. Humidity and CO2 sensors will be installed throughout the facility, which will automatically adjust ventilation based on real-time readings. High-efficiency classroom lighting and competition gym lighting will also be installed to lower utility charges while improving visibility.

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