Where energy efficiency is a class act
Efficiency upgrades get high marks from students and staff at Chelan elementary school
Major heating and lighting improvements at the elementary school in Chelan are saving money and improving comfort.
Gone are the noisy, inefficient heat pumps and stagnant air. Gone are the irritating fluorescent lights that flicker, buzz and hum.
The only humming at Morgen Owings Elementary now is from school officials tickled with the improved environment and energy savings at the building. They’re singing the praises of PSF Mechanical, the Seattle contractor that worked through the summer to install the upgrades by the first day of school Sept. 5.
Seattle-based PSF is an ESCO, or energy services company, pre-qualified by the state Superintendent of Public Instruction to work with K-12 schools.
An energy efficiency audit identified potential savings in HVAC and lighting at both the elementary school and middle/high school. With help from PSF, the district secured a state grant for $550,000. Chelan County PUD contributed $41,000 through its Resource$mart program and the school district paid the rest of the $1.1 million cost.
The elementary school was treated to a complete upgrade of its heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system and all new lighting. Chelan Middle/High School received new lighting only.
Energy savings at the two buildings is projected at 682,694 kilowatt hours per year — enough to power 31 Chelan County homes.
As part of the package, PSF guarantees that energy savings will occur. If savings projections aren’t reached, PSF agrees to pay the difference, said Dan Hering, business development manager for PSF.
More than 2,000 fluorescent lights were replaced at the two schools. At the elementary school, 52 new high-efficiency heat pumps were installed, air circulation equipment was upgraded, and “smart” controls were added. Thermostat set points now are controlled by a digital thermostat, central computer and network of “distributed intelligence” Hering said. Changes can be made remotely, and the building is monitored and metered for energy consumption.
Chelan Business Manager Scott Renick said if funds allow, a similar HVAC upgrade could occur at the middle/high school building.
Wenatchee High School is in line for a lighting retrofit this school year. Bryan Visscher, maintenance and operations supervisor, said lighting will be replaced throughout the building. Wenatchee is using Ameresco Quantum, another energy services company pre-qualified through the state energy program.
The high school project involves a complete overhaul of all lighting at a cost of about $650,000, Visscher said, with $255,000 covered by a state grant and $51,000 coming from the PUD’s Resource$mart energy efficiency program. The remainder will be paid by the school district.
Work will be done in the evenings beginning this fall and continuing through the spring. Projected energy savings is 858,085 kilowatt hours per year, or enough to power 39 homes.
Click here to view a graph showing early energy savings at Morgen Owings Elementary.
PSF Mechanical’s recap of the Chelan project