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Illinois School District Spending $1.1 Million on Energy Upgrades

A small school district in Illinois has signed a $1.1 million contract to do work on its facilities that will reduce its energy needs. Grayville Community Unit School District #1 has chosen Ameresco to handle structural and environmental improvements after working with the same company to perform an assessment of the work required.

The district, which has about 320 students, issued a request for proposal for a guaranteed energy cost savings contract in March 2011 and signed the agreement with Ameresco a year later. In this type of contract energy cost savings are guaranteed to the extent necessary to make payments for the upgrades. Ameresco will handle purchasing, design, construction, commissioning, and project management.

The work will focus on a number of areas:

  • Building insulation;
  • Storm windows and doors;
  • Automated energy control systems;
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system modifications or replacements;
  • Lighting fixtures;
  • Air quality improvements;
  • Energy recovery; and
  • Co-generation and alternative energy systems.

After getting the contract, the company also worked with the district to apply for a $5 million state energy conservation grant. Word on that grant is expected over the next month. In February the school board voted to issue $1.2 million in bonds with a 15-year borrowing term to cover the present work as well as the expenses related to applying for the grant.

The work stipulated in the current contract is expected to be done during the summer break.

"Once the district decided to pursue performance-based contracting, Ameresco was a natural fit," said Superintendent Sarah Emery.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.