Lee County Ramps Up Energy Efficiency in 25 Schools

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The School District of Lee County in Florida is expanding an energy conservation program it launched in 2006. The district has contracted with FPL Services to implement the second phase of the program, in which 25 new schools will be overhauled to reduce energy and water consumption.

Lee County kicked off the first phase of the program back in 2006, when it renovated 14 schools to use energy and water resources more efficiently.

"The idea of this concept is to make our buildings more efficient, and in doing so enjoy cost savings. Certainly in many instances it will also improve our learning environment with lighting that is more conducive to students being able to do their studies and read their materials," said Jane E. Kuckel, vice chairman of the Lee County School Board, in a prepared statement. "FPL Services has a proven track record for success with us, and we are confident their team of experts will help us save money even as we cut our carbon footprint in our county."

Funding for the project is being handled through performance contracting, which allows the district to use its future energy and water usage savings to pay for the capital improvements. Upgrades to the 25 new schools participating in the program are expected to save some $8.2 million over the first 10 years. Combined with the previous 14 schools that had been upgraded, total savings are projected to be $1.3 million per year.

Lee County has 113 schools schools total. Those 25 selected for upgrades were deemed to be the least energy-efficient in the district based on energy use per square foot. The total cost of the contract for the infrastructure overhaul was $5.9 million.

"We are very excited about the comprehensive energy and water conservation solutions we have planned for Lee County Schools," said Greg Hanlon, vice president and general manager of FPL Services, in a prepared statement. "We will assume all of the responsibility for the cost effectiveness of the equipment and systems so Lee County Schools can enjoy the benefits of operating more efficiently, reducing their expenses and carbon footprint. School leaders will have more time to focus on fulfilling their important mission of educating students. The $5.9 million contract for the second phase of the construction program with FPL Services demonstrates the county's continued commitment to upgrading schools to conserve energy, save money, and serve as a role model for future generations as thoughtful stewards of our environment."

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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