Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Sylvania schools reviewing energy reduction

The Sylvania School District is reviewing an energy reduction plan that could chop its energy bill by more than a half-a-million dollars annually. 

Officials from the heating and cooling company Trane, at Monday's school board meeting, outlined an energy efficient plan that would centralize the heating and cooling control systems of the districts 14 buildings, which includes school and administrative offices.

Also included in the plan that Education Market Leader Jim Zavesky outlined for board members was steps taken to optimize energy consumption and reduce operating costs related to light use and the heating and cooling systems.

The overall cost of the energy conservation project, which mainly would entail structural fixes, was $5.7 million dollars. The team of energy engineers projected annual savings at $531,486 and an annual investment of $499,828, which would result in the school having a positive cash flow of about $31,658 a year, Mr. Zavesky said.

The first change that drives a lot of savings Mr. Zavesky said is lighting retrofits for outdoor and indoor lights that includes energy reducing lamps, ballasts, and lenses, and installing light sensors in corridors, offices, storage rooms, and other parts of the school that do not have constant occupancy. The plan also calls for replacing incandescent lamps with new, compact fluorescent ones.

In the past several months Trane officials have been monitoring school buildings and their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Mr. Zavesky said they noticed temperature ranges in classrooms and in the summer time there were hot spots in certain areas of a building.

He also pointed out that currently the district has different levels of control for the HVAC systems throughout the buildings. However, the plan they are proposing would create a central control and monitoring system for all the school buildings.

The system is online and can be accessed from a smart phone or an iPad, explained Michael Forshaw, controls system sales specialist for Trane. If someone complains about a temperature in another building, the building administrator can adjust the temperature from his phone, he said.

The scope of the work also included plumbing upgrades to conserve water and energy, as well as replacing boilers and water piping installation.

Alan Bacho, the districts facilities and operations director, said the integrated control system would help tremendously.

“This brings everything together so we can manage everything off of one system,” he said. “Instead of paying this out to utilities once this is paid off we will continue to have energy savings. Lighting is a big part of this, and lighting control.”

District treasurer Laura Sauber, who has worked with the Trane team alongside Mr. Bacho, said that the district plans to finance the upfront cost with bonds. The bonds would be paid back with the cost in savings over a 15-year period, she said.

The project, if approved, would have about a year installation period. The board is reviewing the project and is expected to vote on the resolution Oct. 28.

If passed, Trane officials would seek approval of the plan by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, a state organization that reviews capital projects for accuracy. The final plan, which would need another approval by the school board, would also include an energy savings guarantee based on energy units.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.

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