Blount County Schools tackle 20-year energy modernization plan

Kickoff meeting. Front row from left: Ken Parker, Blount County schools operations director; Cindy Parker, Blount County Schools chief financial officer; Rodney Green, Blount County Schools Superintendent; Todd Smith, Schneider Electric account executive. Back row from by Ron Gholson left: Caleb Ringelberg, Schneider project manager; John Rehus, Schneider performance assurance manager; Payne Walters, Schneider project manager; Brett Crow, Schneider project development engineer.

Kickoff meeting. Front row from left: Ken Parker, Blount County schools operations director; Cindy Parker, Blount County Schools chief financial officer; Rodney Green, Blount County Schools Superintendent; Todd Smith, Schneider Electric account executive. Back row from by Ron Gholson left: Caleb Ringelberg, Schneider project manager; John Rehus, Schneider performance assurance manager; Payne Walters, Schneider project manager; Brett Crow, Schneider project development engineer.

Blount County Schools and Schneider Electric, an integrated energy management and automation engineering firm, have embarked on a joint project to dramatically improve energy efficiency at the school system’s 20 locations countywide by addressing multiple energy-using systems: heating, air conditioning, lighting, water, electric power, and telecommunications. The kickoff meeting was held at Blount County Schools’ central office last week as members of the joint team met to devise and coordinate an implementation plan.

“Modernizing our schools has been a priority for many years, but with limited funding, we have not been able to make this dream a reality,” Green said. “This will be the single largest modernization project Blount county schools has ever undertaken,” he added. He said the more than $14 million project will unfold over a period of 20 years, generating operations cost savings of $14.6 million, which, according to the terms of the energy-saving performance contract (ESPC), will be used to fund the costs of implementation. Examples of modernization and efficiency changes:

• replacing interior and exterior lighting with energy-efficient LED lighting and controls.

• modernizing HVAC systems at multiple buildings.

• replacing boiler systems, roofing, and extensive sealing of windows, doors, gaps and cracks across all buildings.

• installing a district-wide, integrated telecommunications system and a district wide automated control system.

Schneider Electric has implemented more than $230 million in energy efficiency projects for more than 40 clients across Alabama, including more than a quarter of the state’s 137 school districts. The project delivery method helps public entities make capital improvements over longer payback periods, using energy and facilities cost savings of up to 31 percent to minimize the financial impact of large-scale energy-use modernization.