The Wathena Unified School District (USD) 406 in Wathena, Kan., is implementing $537,913 in facility enhancements designed to improve operations, comfort, and efficiency in the district’s 100,400-square-foot school facility. The Energy Solutions division of TAC, a provider of energy services, building automation, and security, will complete the work as a performance contract with the district. TAC guarantees that USD 406 will reduce its utility costs by more than $29,000 annually when the project is completed in February 2009.

Located in Doniphan County in northeastern Kansas, USD 406 serves students in Wathena in grades K through 12 in one main facility, parts of which are more than 50 years old. School officials contracted with TAC to resolve a variety of problems that were causing the district to use too much energy.

“Our maintenance staff was no longer able to get parts for the aging energy management system (EMS), making it increasingly difficult to keep classrooms comfortable,” said Mike Newman, superintendent of USD 406. “Furthermore, the aging boiler system needed to be replaced. TAC’s performance contract was the perfect solution to upgrade our facilities.”

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To correct USD 406’s problems, TAC will replace the outdated EMS that has obsolete parts with a district-wide direct digital control (DDC) system. This will enable maintenance staff to monitor, control, and even troubleshoot problems from a single workstation. TAC will also install two new non-condensing boilers that will be much more efficient than the old hot water boiler. A comprehensive lighting retrofit that will improve illumination in the school and save energy will complete the project.

“Students, faculty, and other staff at USD 406 will enjoy a better learning and working environment as a result of these facility updates,” said Wes McDaniel, vice president of TAC Energy Solutions. “The new DDC system will eliminate the comfort problems in the school, the new lighting will create brighter spaces, and the boilers will provide more reliable heating. All of these new systems will be more energy-efficient and better for the environment as well.”

Publication date:11/03/2008