Texas School District to Improve Efficiency

The Grand Saline (Texas) school district is implementing $700,000 in facility enhancements to improve operations and efficiency in its buildings. TAC Energy Solutions will complete the work as a performance contract and guarantees that the district will save $40,000 in annual utility costs.

The Grand Saline Independent School District (GSISD) in Grand Saline, Texas, is implementing $700,000 in facility enhancements designed to improve operations, comfort and efficiency in its buildings. TAC, the Building Automation Business Unit of Schneider Electric, will complete the work as a performance contract with the district. TAC guarantees that GSISD will reduce its utility costs by more than $40,000 annually when the project is completed in 2009.

Located 70 miles east of Dallas, the GSISD serves approximately 1,200 students on four campuses. The district contacted TAC to resolve several problems, including the lack of a single building management system (BMS) for all the schools, inadequate lighting, and for assistance complying with state-mandated energy-efficiency guidelines.

"Our problems ranged from inconsistent lighting in our gym to a malfunctioning BMS in the new high school to the lack of a BMS on our other campuses," said Mark Keahey, superintendent, GSISD. "We also needed to comply with new state laws mandating that school districts reduce their energy consumption by 5 percent each year for the next six years, but had no plan in place to accomplish this. Through the performance contract, TAC provided solutions to resolve these problems and a method to pay for the improvements."

Performance contracting offers many long-term benefits for school districts, such as improved facility efficiency, occupant comfort, financial management and environmental protection. Typically, new, more efficient equipment and upgraded facility automation systems maximize energy efficiency and generate utility savings. TAC guarantees the amount of savings performance contracting projects will achieve and agrees to pay the difference if that amount is not realized.

TAC's plan for GSISD calls for installing a variety of energy conservation measures (ECMs) on the district's campuses. The existing BMS at the high school will be upgraded and then integrated with the new control systems installed at the other three campuses. This will allow district facility operators to manage and control all the schools from a central work station. Retrofitting the lighting in the gym to high bay T8 lamps will solve the illumination problem there while replacing other lamps throughout the schools with T8 fluorescents will save energy.

"Students, faculty and other staff at GSISD will enjoy a better learning and working environment as a result of these facility updates," said Shon Anderson, vice president of sales, TAC Energy Solutions. "These improvements will also significantly reduce the energy consumption of the district's buildings and enable GSISD to meet the state efficiency mandates. When the performance contract is completed, the district will save 667,474 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, which is equivalent to planting 11,885 trees or avoiding 965,191 driving miles."

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