MINNEAPOLIS - According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), 25 percent of the energy used in schools is wasted due to inefficient buildings, equipment, and operations. This drains an estimated $1.5 billion annually from the nation’s schools, enough money to hire 30,000 teachers. After salaries, utility costs are typically the second-largest budget item, and the most controllable expense, confronting schools. That’s why administrators are trying to reduce energy consumption and better predict future needs. At the same time, many schools are also looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions.
Honeywell is helping schools on both of these fronts, providing a range of services and technology designed to shrink schools’ utility bills and environmental footprint. This is possible through infrastructure upgrades - including new, high-efficiency boilers - and more innovative solutions like wind turbines and solar panels.
Since 2006, Honeywell said it has helped dozens of U.S. school districts beat their budget crunch with energy and operational savings expected to total more than $153 million. The savings are primarily achieved through energy performance contracts, which allow schools to fund facility improvements through the energy and operating savings the upgrades produce over a specified timeframe, typically 10 to 20 years. Honeywell guarantees the results so the work usually doesn’t impact budgets or require additional taxpayer dollars. Combining all active performance contracts, the company is helping hundreds of districts save nearly $372 million.
“Energy and operating costs drain money from budgets - money that would otherwise go directly toward the classroom,” said Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. “However, districts rarely have the capital to overhaul their facilities. Our programs help schools boost efficiency without a significant up-front investment.”
Honeywell said it works closely with schools to develop strategic plans to cut energy costs and emissions, and increase the comfort of classrooms. The company employs a mix of traditional and renewable conservation measures to that end. Examples include:
• Perkins Local School District in Ohio is erecting three 20-kilowatt wind turbines to complement a variety of conventional energy-efficiency measures. The turbines will provide more than 10 percent of the electricity for the middle and high schools. And the overall program is expected to reduce expenses by more than $190,000 each year. The district used the Honeywell Renewable Energy Scorecard, said to be a first-of-its-kind selection tool that helps pinpoint the technology with the most significant environmental and economic drivers, to identify the right green solution for the district’s needs.
• Honeywell has installed solar arrays for school districts in Dixon, Pleasanton, Poway, and Riverdale, Calif. These projects are expected to save the districts millions in energy costs. They also will cut annual carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 4.3 million pounds and nitrous oxide emissions by almost 4,000 pounds.
“The fact that going green also provided a financial advantage was very attractive to us,” said Elaine Cash, superintendent of Riverdale Joint Unified School District. “Our solar project with Honeywell will maximize our budget resources while maintaining clean, sustainable schools.”
Along with tapping renewable resources, typical improvements include replacing and upgrading HVAC equipment, installing centralized building automation systems, replacing outdated fixtures with energy-efficient lighting, tightening building envelopes through new windows and doors, and upgrading electrical systems.
For more information on Honeywell energy services, visit www.honeywell.com/buildingsolutions/energy.