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Waynesboro school board hears energy-saving ideas

November 17, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- The Waynesboro Area School Board on Tuesday learned more about performance contracts, a method of making school improvements based on anticipated energy savings.

The board, with members Firmadge Crutchfield and Mindy Rouzer absent, unanimously agreed to seek information from companies willing to enter into a performance contract. At Tuesday's meeting, representatives of Siemens Building Technologies Inc. told the board in general terms what their company would do.

Account Executive Tony Prelec said Siemens likely would install variable speed drives on pumps, replace some water heaters and boilers, and weatherize buildings. Those and several other upgrades could save the district $2.7 million over 15 years, he said.

"We could actually reduce your energy consumption by 20 percent," Prelec said.

Scott Layne, also of Siemens, explained how Pennsylvania Act 77 allows schools to make the improvements based on projected savings. He described his company as remarkably accurate in predicting future energy costs.

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"It's self-funded. The savings are guaranteed in writing," he said.

In a PowerPoint presentation, Prelac showed that the district anticipates spending approximately $600,000 on utilities in 2010. With improvements, he said the district could remain below the $600,000 mark through 2015.

Electricity rate caps in Pennsylvania are set to expire at the end of 2010, causing a wide range of estimates by which percent rates will increase.

Business Administrator Caroline Dean told the board it could perform a limited amount of improvements with no out-of-pocket expenses. It could also perform additional, connected work at a reduced cost.

"Our guarantee is in units of energy, and we help you translate that into dollars for your budget," Layne said.

District officials said the board will be under no obligations when it reviews detailed proposals from Siemens and other companies that respond to the request for proposals.

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