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School System Energy Audit Arrives at a Surprise Conclusion

Education is one of the main verticals for energy efficiency. School buildings often are old, the needs are great and money is available. Thus, opportunities abound. Indeed, a day doesn’t seem to go by without an announcement of a project somewhere.

Something different has happened in the Greensburg Salem School District in Pennsylvania. Schneider Electric recently completed an energy audit. The result, in essence, was, “You’re good.”

TRIB reports that the buildings were more efficient than anticipated. Some light touch work, such as using LED lights, was suggested. But no major upgrade or retrofit opportunities were identified. A quote in the piece, from School Board President Ron Mellinger, sums it up: “They told us our buildings were more efficient than any audit they’ve ever done,” he said. “Who would have thought that?”

In an ironic way, the energy efficiency of the facilities could work against the school system. An architectural study two years ago found that the heating, plumbing and electrical systems couldn’t be supported for too much longer. Thus, the rationale for replacement would have been stronger if great energy efficiency gains would be achieved.

The next step is unclear, according to the facilities advisory committee co-chairman Chris Suppo, who is the district coordinator for technology, transportation and community relations:

Although the audit didn’t uncover savings that committee members hoped for, it is a useful look at the condition of district buildings, Suppo said. The committee will meet again in March to study audit results in more detail and discuss what to do next, he said.

NorthJersey.com reports that the Pequannock Board of Education has applied to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ Clean Energy Program to enable its schools to get energy audits under the Local Government Energy Audit program. Audits under this program are free, the story says.

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