Ohio District Overhauls Infrastructure To Save Costs, Reduce Energy Use

Lakota Local School District of Liberty Township, OH, has made infrastructure upgrades that it said it expects to save about $257,000 a year in energy and operating costs.

In October, LLSD, which serves the north Cincinnati suburbs of Liberty Township and West Chester, completed $2.45 million in infrastructure upgrades, courtesy of a performance contract funded by a state program that "allows building owners to use future energy and operational savings to finance infrastructure improvement projects."

The accomplishment earned the district the Trane "Energy Efficiency Leader in Education Award." The award, presented on Dec. 14 to LLSD Superintendent Mike Taylor by education account executives from commercial HVAC products manufacturer Trane, honors schools that have "completed building improvements that optimize the teaching and learning environment and increase operational efficiency."

"It's great in these tight budgetary times that we were able to improve the teaching and learning environment while generating energy and operational savings," Taylor said. "Because we are able to pay for the improvements through these savings, we can focus our capital budget on other needs in the district."

The LLSD energy efficiency upgrades included:

  • CO₂-based demand control ventilation and dynamic air cleaners to provide outdoor air ventilation based on actual rather than assumed room occupancy and to improve indoor air quality;
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) controls updates to provide better scheduling of component runtimes for energy efficiency and occupant comfort;
  • Variable speed pumping installed to lower pump speed and reduce energy consumption during low load conditions;
  • Galvanized steel cooling towers replaced with stainless steel cooling towers;
  • Lighting upgraded to high-efficiency fixtures and lighting levels upgraded to enhance student and staff comfort; and
  • Existing air handlers upgraded with variable speed drives to reduce associated fan power and energy costs.

Repairs were also completed on the original system design to help reduce the risk of damaging the equipment in the future.

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Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.