Four Ways Performance Contracting Can Turn Outdated Infrastures in Schools to an A+

Cash strapped public schools throughout the United States educate billions of students annually on a shoe-string budget. School leaders earmark every penny toward educational programs and additional staff members, leaving them with little resources to optimize their aging and failing energy equipment and infrastructure.

Windows and doors are drafty, HVAC units aren’t heating or cooling the school as needed, boilers are ready to bust and on top of that their utility bills are sky high. The result is an environment that does not help students or teachers succeed.

There are three words that can help school districts modernize their infrastructures without the need for upfront capital: energy performance contracting.

Energy performance contracting in schools is a legislation that many states have that provides a funding mechanism to K-12 schools to pay for infrastructure improvements with the energy savings gained from the project. Energy savings are guaranteed by the energy optimization firm that designed and implemented the project. If the savings don’t hit the mark, the energy optimization firm must make up the difference, removing any risk to a district using performance contracting in schools.

Garrett Self, an Association of Energy Engineers Certified Energy Manager, explained that performance contracting in schools offer many benefits, including:

Reduced capital expenditures

In most cases, depending on scope, utility bill expenditures can be reduced by up to 50 percent after implementing efficiency measures. Schools can then use those savings to pay for capital improvement projects — or reallocate those funds to educational programs or into another project to further improve the learning environment for their students and staff.

Improved occupant comfort

Teachers trying to teach students in a drafty building with inefficient HVAC equipment must bundle everyone up in the winter only to sweat in the summer, slowing learning and possibly affecting performance. With energy system optimization projects that include enhanced lighting or mechanical systems, all school users are more comfortable, healthier, happier and more productive.

Replacement of aging building systems

Schools with aging building automation systems, or who suffer from being locked out of a proprietary building automation system often struggle with occupant discomfort. In most cases schools don’t have the funding or staff time required to solve these issues. With an energy systems optimization solution that replaces aging equipment and includes a building automation system with open protocol controls, the district is able to have full control of their energy systems, saving more money and energy while improving the comfort for all who use the space.

Achievement of a safer and cleaner school

“School districts want to do what they do best: prepare generations of children to be successful in life, but that is tough to do with failing energy systems,” said Self. “Using a performance contract in schools achieves their mission of education without raising taxes and giving them a chance to set an example as being a steward of the environment for their community.”


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