The St. Joseph School District Board of Education met with several companies Monday morning in order to establish a new energy saving model for its facilities.
The six companies — Energy Solutions Professionals, Navitas, Wildan/PI Group, Trane, Honeywell and Schneider Electric — presented various plans during a closed meeting that ran from 10 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m. Monday.
Gabe Edgar, the SJSD assistant superintendent of business and operations, said that problems with the HVAC systems, specifically those at Oak Grove and Carden Park elementary schools, spurred some of the energy saving conversations initially.
In November, it was revealed that the HVAC units at both schools aren’t adequately heating and cooling their respective spaces. However, Edgar said that through conversations with Trane and TMI out of Kansas City, the problem is 95% fixed. He said the administration also is looking into a preventative maintenance plan to get them through the end of the school year in that regard, and whichever company is chosen to lead the district’s energy efficient efforts going forward likely will take over those efforts.
Other than HVAC systems, the company that the board selects to partner with also will look at lighting and operational systems to save the district money on its utilities.
“I think one of the things that we learned (Monday) was the advancement of technology has come a long way, and we’re probably living in the stone ages, so to speak, with some of our buildings and units,” Edgar said. “Once we get all the controls into one hub — we have things going 24 different directions — but we’re in hopes to bring everything together.”
The board will choose a company to partner with on this initiative on Jan. 27 during its next board meeting. Afterward, that company will perform an investment grade audit, which should take 45 to 90 days. Construction, should it be needed, could then be performed throughout the summer, Edgar said.