Mississippi Schools Seek Energy Answers

The Choctaw County School District (CCSD) in Ackerman, Miss., is implementing facility enhancements designed to improve operations, comfort and efficiency at its four campuses totaling more than 335,000 square feet. TAC, the Building Automation Business Unit of Schneider Electric, will complete the work as a performance contract with the district. TAC guarantees that CCSD will reduce its utility costs by almost $59,000 annually when the project is completed in April 2009.

CCSD serves approximately 1,700 students in grades Pre-K through 12 in central Mississippi. Like most school systems, district officials were alarmed by recent high energy costs. Other problems included the lack of centralized control of mechanical systems and ongoing food spoilage due to cooler outages.

“For a small district such as ours, big spikes in energy costs are very difficult to manage,” according to Donna Nail, superintendent of CCSD. “Our performance contract with TAC enables us to make needed improvements to increase the energy efficiency of our facilities, as well as to effectively manage our mechanical systems and maintain our utility costs at affordable levels.

Performance contracting offers many long-term benefits for school districts, such as improved facility efficiency, occupant comfort, financial management and environmental protection. Typically, new, more efficient equipment and upgraded facility automation systems maximize energy efficiency and generate utility savings. TAC guarantees the amount of savings performance contracting projects will achieve and agrees to pay the difference if that amount is not realized.

To improve the energy efficiency of the district’s buildings, TAC will install several energy conservation measures (ECMs). A districtwide energy management system ( EMS) will provide the operations staff with a single interface to monitor and control the mechanical equipment and systems at all the district’s campuses. A complete lighting retrofit across the district will replace the existing lights with new energy efficient lamps and ballasts, which also provide better quality illumination. Finally, to keep the district from loosing thousands of dollars worth of food because of freezer failures, TAC will install cooler/freezer monitors and alarms. These will immediately alert facility staff, even during extended school breaks, when there is a refrigeration failure, allowing them to take appropriate measures to preserve food supplies.

tac.com; schneiderelectric.com

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