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February 21, 2012

New roof, heating/air system, digital controls slash school’s energy costs

RICHMOND — Thanks to a new roof, a new heating, ventilating and cooling (HVAC) system with digital controls, Clark-Moores Middle school has slashed its energy costs this year.

Although mild winter weather has helped, new infrastructure at the school built in 1974 will provide long-term savings, according to Larry Curry, maintenance director for the county school district.

From July through January, the Clark-Moores building used 574,822 fewer kilowatt hours than during the same period a year earlier. At eight cents per kilowatt hour, that means a savings of nearly $44,000, Curry said.

The Clark-Moores roof was replaced last summer at a cost of about $500,000, Curry said. The new HVAC system, installed as the roof was replaced, cost about $1.4 million.

In addition to more insulation, ductwork was installed in the ceiling as roof work was under way.

Clark-Moores was once the most inefficient school building in the district, but now it is one of the most efficient of the old buildings.

“We have achieved other significant savings throughout the system,” Curry said, “but this is exceptional.”

The cost saving was realized even as the Clark-Moores gymnasium was air-conditioned for the first time, he said.

Previously, the entire school had to be kept at the same temperature 24 hours a day, seven days a week when school was in session, Curry said.

“With this system, we can heat or cool only the rooms that are being used. We also can schedule when heating or cooling goes on or go off in any room,” he said.

School board policy limits heating only up to 70 degrees and cooling down to only 74, Curry said.

The control system, called Energy Watchdog, allows him to monitor every room in every school that has it installed to ensure compliance. He also can receive alerts when a room is out of compliance and then make adjustments via the Internet, he said.

In addition to the savings at Clark-Moores, the district also has realized some energy cost savings after renovations to three aging transformers at the Phillips Building, Curry said.

The work began in November and was completed near the end of December. A reduction of 55,362 kilowatt hours has been tracked since the completion of the project. That produces a cost savings of $4,428.96 for the district, Curry said.

The Phillips Building, a former manufacturing plant across the street from Madison Central High School, houses districts maintenance and technology departments as well as several other district offices. Some courses offered through Kentucky Tech are taught there.

The school district’s new construction conforms to the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star standards, Curry said. Compliance has been verified at Kingston Elementary and Caudill Middle School. More usage will be required to verify compliance at the newly opened Farristown Middle School.

The district recently was informed by the state Education Department that it energy efficiency is the third best in the state, Superintendent Tommy Floyd told the school board at a recent meeting.

“We are proud of the efforts to conserve energy and lower costs for the district,” he said.

Bill Robinson can be reached at brobinson@ richmondregister.com or at 624-6622.

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