PRC school board to advertise for bids on energy savings proposal

Published 2:27 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Pearl River County school board voted at its Monday night meeting to advertise for bids for an energy savings project that an energy consultant said would save the school about $750,000 over 15 years.

Allie Harris, representing Schneider Electric of Flowood, told the board that an energy audit Schneider experts conducted shows that the school is spending approximately $400,000 for enegy annually, and if proposals generated by the study were  implemented, the school could save approximately $42,000 a year on its energy bill.

She said that Schneider would guarantee that savings, if it got the contract on the project.

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She congratulated the school on its work in saving energy through a competitive program already in place between schools within the district.

Supt. Alan Lumpkin said that Lower Elementary was the energy savings winner for the month, with a 37-percent savings on its energy bill, saving the district $2,573.80.

He said that the district had an overall 26-percent savings on its energy bill because of the contest and that is the best the school has done since competition began. He said the district saved $9,043.46 on its electricity bill overall.

“I have heard about your energy savings competition,” said Harris, “and the impact it is having. It has made a tremendous impact on your utility bills, and I congratulate you for that.”

Harris said her company is expert at finding areas in which to save energy and also in helping districts find funding to finance the energy-savings proposals. She said the money saved when implementing the plans also can be used to fund the project, if needed.

She said an energy audit at the school showed the school’s utility costs run about $400,000 a year, that proposals put forward by the audit to save energy would generate about $42,000 a year in energy savings, which would be guaranteed by her company over a 15-year period. That would amount to a savings of $775,000 over 15 years.

She said the main area of savings would be implementing an energy management system that would automatically turn on and off the cooling and heating systems. She said that has proven to be a major savings in any energy savings system.

Harris also said the audit targeted the schools 1,800 computers. She said one program that could be implemented would be a system that would place the computers in a “hibernation mode” when not in use. She said the audit also was proposing a substantial upgrade in energy-saving lighting for classroom and sports facilities.

Said Harris, “You are a good candidate for this project, and it would generate substantial savings.”

A similar project, implemented in Biloxi schools, was expected to save that system more than $4 million over 15 years, WLOX has reported.

Officials said there might be funding for the project through MDA. Harris said her company would help the school district find funding sources, if they are needed.

Although Schneider conducted the audit, other energy management companies are allowed to bid on the project, as well as Schneider.

Harris is an account sales representative with Schneider.

Lumpkin said the board is not obligated to implement the program, that a decision on whether or not to implement its recommendations will be made after accepting bids to see how much it will actually cost up front.

Board member Jeremy Weir made a motion to advertise for bids, seconded by board member  Rodney Dyess. It passed unanimously, with board president Jeff Jones and board member Twila Crabtree also voting yes. Board member Michelle Boyd was absent.

After the open portion of the meeting, the board went into an executive session to discuss a personnel matter.