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High Performance Buildings Spotlight: Trane Performance Contract Saves Ohio School District $900,000 Per Year

July 05, 2012

Located in southwestern Ohio, Lakota is the seventh largest school district in the state, and the largest school district in Butler County. Lakota has grown in the last 20 years from a rural district to a suburban district with more than 18,000 students.

To service the needs of its growing population Lakota Schools utilizes 25 buildings, including 14 elementary schools, four junior high schools, two freshmen schools and two high schools, the Options Academy and the central office/service building. The buildings range in age from two to 82 years,  with many requiring new mechanical systems, upgraded lighting, windows and other improvements.

When the school district wanted to explore ways to upgrade building systems for better comfort, reliability, maintainability and efficiency, it partnered with Trane for a comprehensive solution.

Roadmap for Improvement
Lakota Schools and Trane have entered into a three-phase multi-million dollar facilities upgrade project that will save the school district $667,000 in annual energy costs and more than $260,000 in annual operating costs. As a result of energy efficient facilities upgrades, Lakota Schools will receive an additional $382,000 in rebates from the utility company, Duke Energy.

To begin the project, LEED-accredited Trane energy engineers performed energy audits and building assessments, analyzed the findings and provided Lakota Schools with cost-justified, ROI-based actionable recommendations. Trane account managers accompanied the building maintenance superintendent in presenting the project proposal to the school board.

The projects are being funded by the energy and operating savings generated by the upgrades in a performance contract that is guaranteed by the Ohio School Facilities Commission.

Scope of Work
During the assessments it was determined that nine of the schools needed mechanical and control system improvements. Plumbing retrofits are needed in 13 buildings in order to reduce water consumption.

All schools will get lighting upgrades, from minimal gym lighting improvements to complete lighting retrofits. Other electrical improvements range from installing vending misers in all schools to installing Trane TR Series variable frequency drives (VFDs) on motors at nine buildings where major HVAC improvements are under way.

Upgrades will be completed per the district’s long range capital plan in the next five years.

Improvements at the five newest schools include advanced scheduling and re-commissioning of HVAC controls, installation of vending misers, lighting control upgrades and exterior lighting retrofits.

A Tracer ES™ building automation system provides monitoring and control of all facilities from one computer. Old pneumatic control systems were converted to new DDC systems. Other significant projects include installation of high efficiency chillers and boilers, and cooling tower retrofits.

Phase One results have already exceeded savings projections by 15 percent, equal to $35,000 in savings over the original projections. Overall energy and operating cost savings are expected to be $927,000 per year.  These significant energy and operational savings allow leaders at Lakota to focus its capital budget on other needs in the district.