School Board Considers Energy Efficiency Upgrade

A proposal for a new communication system for the heating and cooling system at Okawville schools could result in substantial energy savings.

The West Washington County Community Unit School Board heard a proposal from Integrated Facility Services in St. Louis to install an intelligent communications system to maximize energy efficiency in the school’s heating and cooling system.

Heating and cooling the school building is one of the major expenses for the district. Over the last two years, energy costs have been around $200,000 a year.

After examining the existing system, Brian Schumacher said that a new communications system could result in substantial energy savings. He proposed integrating the heating and cooling systems with a smart console that would allow the system to adjust temperatures based on time of day, outside temperatures and level of activity.

Additional energy cost savings would come from more integrating the heating and cooling system to work together, as well as creating zones that could be kept at a constant temperature when not in use, and regulating humidity levels.

Superintendent Scott Fuhrhop attended a conference for educators about increasing energy efficiency to save costs. Following that, he put out requests for bids to install a smart communications system, and IFS in St. Louis came in with the low bid.

The estimated cost of the project would be $228,000. The school would be eligible for a rebate of up to $69,000 from Ameren for efficiency improvements, as well as a $50,000 grant from the state of Illinois for building upgrades.

The upgraded system is projected to cut energy costs from 25 to 40 percent. With the rebates and grants, the project would pay for itself in 18 to 24 months.

Read the full details on the proposal and other Board items in this week’s issue.

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