With the launch of a $9.3 million high efficiency boiler and energy savings project for the school district, officials say they are already starting to see benefits from the program.
The district has already reduced next year’s utilities budget by $440,000 because of the Honeywell project, School Board Chairman Dan McKenna said in a Dec. 13 meeting. The project has a 16- year payout, he said, adding, “But it’s a benefit that we are already starting to see and have in our budget for next year.”
In the meeting, Honeywell representatives gave a brief history of the project and presented an update on its progress.
After experiencing a number of problems with boilers, Honeywell was selected by the school district thorough a competitive bidding process in 2014. A comprehensive energy audit was conducted to determine how energy loss was affecting costs, according to Honeywell representatives.
An initial project by Honeywell involved converting boilers at Grinnell and Hood schools from oil to natural gas. This project was completed last year.
The initial project was followed by the current program or Phase II, to make capital improvements for greater energy efficiency for Ernest P. Barka Elementary School, East Derry Memorial Elementary School, Grinnell Elementary School, Gilbert H. Hood Middle School and West Running Brook Middle School. In addition, a program that includes energy saving projects and temperature control improvements will be added to South Range Elementary and Derry Village Elementary schools.
In addition, the plan includes new energy saving programs, such as the LED lighting, and software improvements to help lower costs. And the project will improve ventilation and heating systems while improving controls on boiler systems, according to officials.
Gary King, Honeywell’s project manager, gave an update on the progress of the second phase and discussed how some of the cost savings are being achieved.
Some of the energy conservation steps that are being taken include insulating piping at Gilbert H. Hood Middle School, Derry Village and South Range elementary schools, King said. Uninsulated or poorly insulated piping can cause a lot of heat loss, according to officials.
In addition, new controls have been added to coolers and freezers in schools to help reduce energy loss. Water conservation measures are also being undertaken, including replacing all toilets and urinals, King said.
Adding more efficient LED lighting at some of the schools has been the focus so far of recent work, King said. Crews recently completed installing lighting on seven poles at Earnest P. Barka and five at East Derry Memorial Elementary, he said.
King then discussed an energy conservation measure that is being used involving destratification fans. The special fans that move heat down from ceilings are being installed in gyms cafeterias and stages, where there is a lot stranded heat up at the ceiling
“So these fans are intended to be installed and bring that heat down to the floor level and reduce the requirement to heat with the heating system,” King said. “You are taking that warm air off the ceiling.”
This phase of the project is about 29 percent complete.
Another energy conservation measure involves a plug load management program. This entails using devices that are plugged into an outlet to control the power of large devices like printers, vending machines and “anything that is sitting there using energy,” King said. The devices are programmed through Wi-Fi, he said.
Typically, after the staff leaves for the day, these devices are left on, wasting energy, King said.
Other energy conservation measures being undertaken in the district include adding weather stripping d own the center of doors to seal them and stop the infiltration of air, he said.
Another recent step involved blowing insulation into the attic of the gym at Grinnell Elementary School.
“That’s a cold attic and prior to us going in there,” King said. “There was very little insulation on the top of that ceiling and obviously there was a lot of cold air infiltrating into the gym.”