This is a response to the op-ed by Mark Harman on January 17, “Kanawha County Schools should lead in energy efficiency.”
When people write their opinions, it is important to also have the facts. The issue with an opinion not substantiated by the facts is there will always be people who believe what they have read. Therefore, they have been misled by the writer to believe something other than the facts.
So here are the facts.
Kanawha County Schools has actively participated in energy conservation and savings for decades. In the early 1990s, Kanawha County Schools applied for numerous energy conservation grants. In the mid-2000s, Kanawha County Schools began to acquire capital leases for ECM (energy conservation management) including lighting, HVAC and windows that were implemented throughout the county.
Since the implementation of energy conservation management upgrades, Kanawha County Schools has seen a reduction in overall utility consumption and substantial energy cost savings. As of June 30, 2017, electricity has realized a reduction of 14 percent, gas has realized a reduction of 43 percent, and water has realized a reduction of 25 percent. This reduction in utility consumption has resulted in a cost savings of over $17 million.
Furthermore, KCS recently replaced 90,000 light fixtures with energy-saving lamps and fixtures. Our water-saving projects led to the replacement of hundreds of toilets with low-flow models. Seventy-five energy-efficient boilers have been installed in our schools recently. Hundreds of rooftop HVAC units have been replaced. Window replacements use solar-glazed low-emissivity double-pane glazing.
A centralized HVAC Direct Digital Control system is in place, allowing early morning checks of 75 buildings remotely. The system allows the HVAC department to drill down on many systems to determine the cause and even provide defective part numbers for replacement. Night setbacks, specialized event scheduling and other energy-saving measures are programmed into the customized software. These energy-saving projects were paid 100 percent by prior energy savings.
For the 10-year period of fiscal year 2007 through fiscal year 2017, Kanawha County Schools has made expenditures totaling over $45 million for improvements, renovations and conservation of energy from the general budget and levy funding with over 32 million going to HVAC.
The KCS energy-management program is large, has more features and has been in place for a very long time. Capital High School had energy-saving controls and software when built 30 years ago, and every new school and addition since has had the same. All new schools constructed have met energy-efficiency standards.
After investing millions during five major energy-saving projects in over 20 years, KCS continues to see an annual savings.
In a school district as large as KCS, there will be times when HVAC parts malfunction and need to be replaced. The HVAC team works as quickly as possible to fix the problem. That in no way detracts from an overall dedication to energy management and energy savings.
Kanawha County Schools has invested greatly in energy-conservation management and is committed to continued modernization of systems to be as energy efficient and cost effective as possible.