Plug Smart Works With Lordstown Schools to Replace Major Building Systems Without Tapping Into Taxpayer Funds
At the April 24 board meeting, the Lordstown Local School District Board approved a proposal to implement required improvements to major building systems at their schools with Ohio-based energy services company Plug Smart.
The improvement package will address several long-term needs including improvements to the roof at the high school, a new boiler to replace the failing original boiler at the high school, LED lighting and building automation systems throughout the district, all of which are critical for regular academic operations. Fully funded by a blend of state grant funds, utility bill savings, operations and maintenance savings and rebates for efficient equipment, the project will create over $100,000 in annual savings for the district and generate more than $3 million over the life of the equipment.
The preliminary energy benchmarking analysis showed that when compared to other school buildings of similar age, geography and HVAC systems, Lordstown High School currently uses 83.7 percent more energy and costs 46.9 percent more per square foot. The LED lighting retrofit alone will reduce current lighting energy consumption by 45 percent.
District Superintendent Terry Armstrong, expressed his excitement for the future stating, “The district seeks to create the best academic experiences and opportunities for our students, and we are grateful we can deliver that without it impacting our taxpayers.”
Armstrong said the process in engaging Plug Smart began in January of this year in an effort to claim the district’s share of the more than $1 million in grant funds that Plug Smart had been awarded by the State of Ohio Development Services Agency over the last few years. And because of the energy and operational improvement opportunities identified during Plug Smart’s assessment of the district’s facilities, the district will benefit through $70,000 in grant funds and incentives to help reduce the initial cost of the project.
“We are excited to be taking advantage of the grants and ongoing savings,” Armstrong added, “but we’re also fixing aging aspects of our buildings, improving classroom comfort for our students and staff, and modernizing the lighting in the classrooms, high school gymnasium and auditorium. Our families are going to have a completely new experience at our basketball games and activities and productions in the district’s auditorium.”
Construction is scheduled to start this May with a completion date targeted for early Fall 2019.
Plug Smart has completed over 75 such grant projects across the state, identifying over $60 million in energy improvement opportunities. The company plans to continue developing creative financing solutions for other school districts in the area so that they too can create the optimal learning environment for their students ahead of the 2019-2020 school year.