WCCC News Article

District Saving Energy, Dollars with HB264 Project

Geothermal well digger

Warren County Career Center is using funds from Ohio HB 264 Energy Conservation Program to complete an energy conservation project this summer at its main campus. The project will save the district money by converting to geothermal and solar energy. WCCC is only the second school in Ohio to tap the State's Energy Loan Fund for a low interest rate loan to pay for the bulk of the construction.

“The advantage of the HB264 program is that our project—for example, the geothermal system installation—is paid for using the savings that the system will create over time, and the equipment and project are paid for by the state,” Superintendent Rick Smith said. “That means our school district is making substantial improvements to our campus with virtually no upfront cost.  House Bill 264 offered us a way to save energy, and spend less money on a major necessity, without incurring any additional debt. It's a win-win for the WCCC and the community.”

The project scope includes:

1) Centralize and upgrade the schools HVAC and Lighting Control Automation system. There are currently multiple systems used for this function and they are being brought under one system. This project also includes replacing pneumatic sensors with electronic temperature and control sensors throughout the main building.

2)  Upgrade to Interior and Exterior lighting to L.E.D. lighting, including occupancy sensors to turn off lighting when spaces are not occupied in all district buildings. This will improve light levels in all areas by at least 12-15% as well as realizing a significant cost savings for operation.

3)  Installation of 80 Geo-thermal wells and converting existing electric heating to geothermal heat pump design in the main building. These wells will provide temperature controlled fluid for our heat pumps and will be utilized for heating and cooling and allow for us to discontinue the use of our on-site chiller and boilers to heat and cool the building.

4)  Installation of a 500KW roof-mounted Solar Photovoltaic system on the main building. This will allow for supplementing our current electric use and will reduce costs of purchasing electric for the main building. It also creates a new sustainable energy education training program for our electrical students as they will learn the installation and maintenance of the system.

The district main building is currently using approximately 80,000 BTU's per square foot per year (BTU/sft.yr).  When all projects are complete, the anticipated energy usage should be reduced to approximately 45,000 BTU/sft/yr. The cost of all projects is approximately 2 million dollars.

“The strategic plan allows for implementation of a Performance Contract - Energy Conservation Program with Vista Consulting that would reduce costs over all district buildings and would allow self-funded initiatives to be completed in the most economical way utilizing State of Ohio, Energy Loan Fund (0.25% IR) via ODSA,” Facilities Director Kim Fladung said. “The project began in February, 2020 and is expected to generate over $140,000 in energy savings per year and pay for itself in less than 15 years. Our guaranteed Annual Savings is $140,828 per year.”

According to the State of Ohio website, “the Energy Conservation Program allows school districts to make energy efficiency improvements to their buildings and use the cost savings to pay for those improvements. The HB 264, which passed in 1985, enables school districts the ability, in this one limited instance, to borrow funds without having to pass a ballot issue for the authority to borrow. This limited borrowing authority has given districts the ability to save millions in utility bills and operating costs, and all at no additional taxpayer expense.”

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