East Brunswick Board of Education approves energy savings plan

EAST BRUNSWICK–In an ongoing effort to save the district money, the East Brunswick Board of Education approved a resolution implementing an Energy Savings Plan.

School Business Administrator Bernardo Giuliana said the district has been working on the energy saving improvement program for about two years, and has chosen to work with Honeywell International, Inc. as of Nov. 29.

The board hired CHA Consulting, Inc. to perform energy audits of its school facilities in accordance with the Board of Public Utilities Local Government Energy Audit Grant Program. 

Giuliana said there were three energy saving companies that developed an energy savings plan and submitted its plans to the district.

“[The district] underwent a review on a committee basis to access not only what was being presented as recommendations, but also to determine which of the companies really best met what the objectives were,” he said. “So at the end of that process the assessment was formalized in a report and the report was given to the board and the recommendation was that Honeywell International, Inc. would be the company that we would work with.”

Honeywell International members have worked with representatives of the school board to develop and present the proposed plan.

“The program itself was developed primarily for school districts, municipalities and county governments to find a way to upgrade their infrastructure without burdening the taxpayers. So what it does is allows you take the money that you are already sending either with the utility company on repairs and maintenance use that money and restructure it into new equipment and have the savings themselves pay for the project itself,” Honeywell representative Joseph Costa said.  

Costa said the majority of the projects Honeywell has identified for the district affect the classroom environment.

“What we have identified [is] there is a district-wide building management system involved and some of these projects also help obviously operational efficiency, but it is a way to reduce energy savings, as well as keep temperature levels where they need to be in any specific classroom,” Costa said. “The solution here is to integrate and give the facilities team the ability to control and see those buildings remotely.” 

Costa said Honeywell will get involved with indoor air quality solutions, so in any location there are children, Honeywell will monitor for volatile organic compounds (VOC). He said another part of this solution is to do demand control management, which is usually done in big spaces, like a gymnasium, so as more people come into a room the system knows to provide more fresh air and then to save energy as people leave the room and the CO2 levels drop, hence cutting back on energy usage.

Honeywell will also work on sealing parts of each facility where there are drafts, and found most of the drafts occur typically where the cinder meets the block, according to Costa. 

Costa said that the project will also include approximately 1.9 megawatts of solar energy on five of the district buildings and tying in the exterior lighting throughout the district, air quality monitoring, the ability to shut off exhaust fans throughout the district, and installing updated efficiency items.   

Giuliana said the facilities that would receive solar will be Central Elementary School, Churchill Junior High School, Lawrence Brook Elementary School, Memorial Elementary School and the support operations facility.

The board also hired Strunk-Albert Engineering to verify that the projected energy savings to be realized from the proposed program have been calculated as required by law.

The value of the project is about $8.9 million and the funds for the project as well as the professional services would be done through a refinancing bond. The refunding bond would be a term repayment of 15 years and the bond would be paid for by the energy savings, according to Giuliana. 

“The overall projected energy savings of those 15 years would be more than $13.6 million. The projected net cash flow, which is the energy savings plus the replacement on the bonds, would be $2.1 million, almost $2.2 million,” Giuliana said. “That $2.2 million we are proposing would then be used to offset the roof replacement costs at Churchill and/or the HVAC costs to introduce air conditioning to Churchill, which is part of a financial plan the district has been working on.”

Since the board approved all of the various items on the agenda pertaining to the Energy Savings Plan, Giuliana said that the Nov. 29 meeting was “the first reading for the bonding [ordinance]. The meeting on Dec. 20 will be a public hearing on the bonding, and the final reading then, that will be the kickoff for us to go to sale. We are anticipating that we will be closing probably late January on the bond sale and then once that is in place, we will be kicking off with Honeywell.” 

For more information visit www.ebps.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.