Oregon District Goes Green with Budget-Neutral Efficiency Upgrades

Oregon's Hillsboro School District has begun work on a $3.5 million energy savings performance contract (ESPC) designed to improve operational efficiency at 13 schools.

A little more than a third of the cost of the contract, $1.3 million, is being funded through Oregon Senate Bill 1149, a law that funds K-12 energy improvements through public-purchase charges to utility customers. The upgrades will be installed by Ameresco, which also identified areas in need of improvement and measures that qualified for reimbursement under the law.

Slated for completion by the end of this year, improvements will include lighting retrofits, CO2-based ventilation control, occupancy and daylight sensors for automatic lighting controls, upgrades to heating and air conditioning controls, building automation systems, electrical service upgrades designed to increase capacity, replacement of electric water heaters with natural gas water heaters and measures to save water across the district.

"In addition to enhancing the identified schools, the efficiency measures and upgrades also support the district's sustainability goals," according to a news release. "The environmental benefits from implementing the energy efficiency measures include an annual reduction of approximately 790 tons of CO2 greenhouse gas emissions, which is the equivalent to removing 106 cars from the road or preserving 216 acres of mature trees each year."

Schools to be upgraded include:

"Partnering with Ameresco under an ESPC has made it possible for us to implement significant energy efficiency upgrades in our schools, and to make improvements to the overall learning environment without an additional burden to our taxpayers," said Adam Stewart, Chief Financial Officer, Hillsboro School District. "The efficiency upgrades are expected to deliver an estimated $137,000 in annual cost savings, while improving the comfort of the facilities for our students and staff."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].