McKeesport Area School District in western Pennsylvania is working with ABM, via an energy performance contracting program, to update HVAC systems and make other improvements by saving the district $7.8 million in energy and operating costs.
As costs for K-12 schools continue to grow and education funding continues to shrink, schools need ways to stretch their budget further. Built in 1961, the main facility of McKeesport Area High School was completed without air conditioning. To provide healthy ventilation at the high school and across the district, the community needed facility upgrades but it was necessary to make those upgrades without sourcing new capital. ABM’s funding solution enabled the improvement of HVAC systems for the district and also helped fund improvements to school lab spaces and athletic facilities, the company says.
Energy conservation measures include:
- Installing new and upgraded building automation systems, including a web-based front-end and new controllers and sensors;
- Replacing and upgrading HVAC assets, including rooftop units and energy-saving variable frequency drives;
- Upgrading boiler plants;
- Retrofitting and replacing lighting with efficient LED technology;
- Replacing oversized transformers with energy-efficient transformers;
- Installing water conservation for each school, including repairs to the rainwater harvesting system at an elementary school.
A school district in South Carolina said last fall that it will implement a comprehensive infrastructure modernization project via a similar funding program. The district says it will save more than $28 million in energy costs over the next 20 years. The project is also expected to improve air quality. It will be financed through an energy savings performance contract with Schneider Electric, which is expected to reduce utility and operating costs by 24% over 15 buildings. Those savings will pay for further upgrades over time.
ABM says that, according to a 2020 Government Accountability Office report, 41% of K-12 public school districts need to update or replace HVAC systems.