Kettering (Ohio) School District
The Kettering City School District has fifteen buildings covering 1.5 million square feet of facilities encompassing 240 acres. The newest building, Greenmont Elementary School, is 11 years old. John F. Kennedy Elementary School, which is the second newest building in the district, was built in 1963. All other buildings are more than 53 years old and one even dates back to 1945.
In late 2013, the district administration was presented with a significant opportunity to reduce electric consumption in all of its buildings as a result of an in-depth lighting audit funded by local electric utility company, DP&L. The audit revealed a menu of significant potential energy conservation measures. Funding for the $2.4 million project funding was not an issue, as the district utilized Ohio House Bill 264 legislation to borrow funds without any expense to taxpayers. The cost of the project has been paid for out of the energy savings achieved.
The district chose to move forward with the energy conservation project in early 2014 because the project payback and rebate incentives created such a favorable payback. The district was able to justify the investment of the interior and exterior lighting retrofit project while also integrating the HVAC and building automation systems into one web-based platform. The enhancements to the buildings’ temperature controls and installation of advanced energy management programming improved energy conservation. In effect, the savings from the lighting retrofit project helped subsidize those efforts. The installation of vestibules in main entryways were bundled into the project, providing security enhancements to comply with ever stricter security mandates and provide energy savings. The HVAC equipment was setup to run on a required schedule, and truck and bus automated block heaters were installed, which was a very creative and effective solution to finding more energy savings.
The key challenges the district faced in implementing this project were the broad scope of work the project encompassed and integrating HVAC controls from four different vendors in fifteen buildings into one system. These challenges were overcome through bi-weekly project meetings with the entire team, changing to a Tridium platform controls system to pull the four systems into one, and rebuilding the controls infrastructure to allow for better communication.
The Kettering City School District has made impressive reductions over the past 5 years in electric consumption, reducing usage by 37% since 2011. Prior to making any equipment controls modifications and using the existing equipment, Mr. Hacker implemented behavioral changes that included cutting back all buildings to unoccupied mode at 4pm unless the building was actually in use. The District Business Manager obtained lower rates for electricity and eliminated demand charges through participation in the South West Ohio Educational Purchasing Cooperative.
This particular energy conservation project alone resulted in electric savings of 1.2 million kWh, which translates to a 20% reduction of electric usage. Normalized for weather and price savings results in a savings of 626,990 kWh, or 11.81% electric usage reduction. A reconciliation report is attached documenting the savings achieved.
Energy Optimizers, USA, the energy service company which designed and implemented the project, guaranteed annual utility savings of $240,000. However, the district actually achieved $317,862 in savings after the first full year of the project, which translates to a 15% greater savings than promised. These savings do not reflect any operational or maintenance savings — strictly electric and heating fuel savings. Money that would have gone to pay utility bills have been used for other capital improvement projects such as asbestos abatement, paving improvements, concrete work, roof repairs, and painting projects throughout the district. The district has improved the learning environment and made the buildings more sustainable while improving its bottom line significantly.
Phil Hacker III, Supervisor, Buildings and Grounds
Ken Lackey, Director of Business Services
Dave Mohr, HVAC/ Electrician
Tim Mathis, HVAC/Electrician