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More Than Turning Off the Lights: Mamaroneck Schools Achieve Energy Savings

The Mamaroneck School Board presented energy efficient changes that had been made within the District, at last night's meeting.

 

Faced with dwindling revenues, a two percent tax cap and increasing mandated costs, the Mamaroneck School District’s budget has been stretched to its limit, with increasing attention being paid to budgetary line items.

But, as a result of an Energy Performance Contract (EPC)—a way of achieving cost savings through energy reduction without upfront capital expenses—the District is on track to save approximately $6.9 million over the next 18 years. The District is complying with New York State Education law which stipulates that the cost of the improvement must be funded by savings over an 18-year period, said Meryl Rubinstein, the assistant superintendent for business operations.

Based on the outcome of an energy audit, the District was able to identify areas where energy savings could be achieved either by replacing equipment or modifying usage.

The changes included:

  • Installing more efficient lighting systems at Mamaroneck High School (MHS) and Murray Avenue School.
  • Light sensors to restrict lighting only to areas being utilized.
  • Freezer and cooler controls in kitchens at MHS and Hommocks Middle School to stop motors from running continuously.
  • The installation of 48 new ventilation units to increase efficiency.
  • Pipe insulation
  • Kitchen hood controllers for ventilation
  • New foam roof at MHS Palmer Gym
  • Circulating pump motors for regulation and control of usage.
  • New windows at Palmer Building at MHS
  • Weather stripping of exterior doors
  • Desktop power save software to shut down computers in evening
  • Roof top units sealed

In 2010, the District sent out a request for proposal for their EPC and received responses from three Energy Service Companies (ESCO); they chose Honeywell for the project. ESCOs are tasked with designing, installing and maintaining the energy saving system, and are paid back for their initial investment through cost savings achieved by the project.

“Most of the time when we go out we look for the lowest bid…this is actually the reverse. You want to look for the greatest number because you want the most savings you can get,” said Rubinstein.

In addition to the monetary savings the District will receive from the EPC, it is also reducing its impact on the planet. Environmental savings are equivalent to the production of 209 cars, the planting of 285 trees and electrical reduction for 92 homes over the 18-year period, said Rubinstein.

The cost of the 15-year lease will be $5.9 million, paid out annually at $395,083 with 2.34 percent interest.

But the energy audit also forced the District to consider cost savings in unlikely places.

“They were things that came to our attention that we would not have realized without having done this whole project,” said Rubinstein. 

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