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Upgrades at Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School Cut Energy Consumption by More Than 50 Percent

December 20, 2012

Old Colony is a regional vocational technical high school offering a broad range of vocational careers for students in the Rochester, Mass., area. Energy efficient infrastructure upgrades at Old Colony have reduced energy consumption by more than 50 percent while improving the learning and teaching environment. An ongoing service and maintenance program helps ensure that all systems continue to run at optimum levels.

The infrastructure improvements at Old Colony reduce energy costs and increase energy and operational efficiency and sustainability while helping the school achieve its core mission of providing the best possible learning environment for its students.

Old Colony completed the upgrades without increasing taxes or depleting capital budgets. Funding was provided through a tax exempt municipal lease, and payments are made entirely from energy savings resulting from the project. This type of payback is a critical benefit for schools, which must make the best use of every dollar in an era of tightening budgets.

The project was funded by a performance contract enabled in Massachusetts through M.G.L. CH25A,11I which allowed the school to use future energy and operational savings to finance infrastructure improvements up front. Performance contracting is a funding option that provides measurable educational results to support strategic objectives.

Creating a High Performance Learning Environment
The upgrades represent a major step in transforming the high school into a high performance building that links to its educational mission. High performance buildings take a whole-building approach to performance while creating spaces that are reliable, safe, healthy, comfortable and efficient. Trane, a leading global provider of indoor comfort solutions and services and a brand of Ingersoll Rand, worked with Old Colony for a plan to maximize the efficiency of the old building.

High performance buildings meet specific standards for energy and water consumption, system reliability and uptime, environmental compliance and occupant comfort. All standards are set to deliver established outcomes that help building owners and occupants achieve their business missions.

Prior to undertaking the upgrades, Old Colony collaborated with Trane on an audit to identify opportunities for improvement. Based on the results of the audit, Old Colony leaders selected energy conservation measures that best met their objectives.

Identifying Opportunities and Implementing Solutions
Old Colony implemented a building automation system which provides centralized building control and enables remote access while monitoring results to help ensure that systems continue to run at optimum levels.

Other upgrades included installing 18 roof-top heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to increase efficiency and 54 variable air volume air handling systems which provide precise temperature control within specific zones. A high efficiency boiler plant helps optimize operations and a photovoltaic solar array was added to increase the use of alternative energy sources. Old Colony also implemented high efficiency lighting retrofits.

Additional retrofits included kitchen upgrades, shop improvements, updated dust collection and welding exhaust systems, and the installation of devices to limit energy consumption in vending machines. Improvements to the school’s building envelope help ensure that efficiency is maintained through the facility.

Old Colony and Trane also collaborated on an energy awareness poster campaign in 2011 to increase classroom sustainability education.

Upgrades implemented at Old Colony helped the school to reduce energy consumption by more than 50 percent while improving the learning and teaching environment. And thanks to an ongoing service and maintenance program, leaders at Old Colony can take comfort in knowing their new building systems will continue to run at peak performance.