The Choctaw County School District (CCSD) in Ackerman, Miss., implemented facility enhancements designed to improve operations, comfort, and efficiency at its four campuses totaling more than 335,000 square feet. TAC (now the Buildings Business of Schneider Electric) completed the work as a performance contract with the district, guaranteeing that CCSD will reduce its utility costs by almost $59,000 annually.

CCSD serves approximately 1,700 students in grades Pre-K through 12 in central Mississippi. Like most school systems, district officials were alarmed by recent high energy costs. Other problems included the lack of centralized control of mechanical systems and ongoing food spoilage due to cooler outages.

“For a small district such as ours, big spikes in energy costs are very difficult to manage,” said Donna Nail, superintendent of CCSD. “Our performance contract with TAC enables us to make needed improvements to increase the energy efficiency of our facilities, as well as to effectively manage our mechanical systems and maintain our utility costs at affordable levels.”

Performance contracting offers a number of long-term benefits for school districts, such as improved facility efficiency, occupant comfort, financial management, and environmental protection, noted TAC. Typically, new, more efficient equipment and upgraded facility automation systems maximize energy efficiency and generate utility savings. The performance contract guarantees the amount of savings and the company agrees to pay the difference if that amount is not realized.

To improve the energy efficiency of the district’s buildings, TAC installed several energy conservation measures (ECMs). A district wide energy management system (EMS) provides the operations staff with a single interface to monitor and control the mechanical equipment and systems at all the district’s campuses. A complete lighting retrofit across the district replaced the existing lights with new energy efficient lamps and ballasts, which also provide better quality illumination.

Finally, to prevent the district from losing thousands of dollars worth of food due to freezer failures, cooler/freezer monitors and alarms were installed. These will immediately alert facility staff, even during extended school breaks, when there is a refrigeration failure, allowing them to take appropriate measures to preserve food supplies.

Publication date:10/19/2009