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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

Schools approve list of strategies and regulations for energy savings

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Since approving the hiring of an energy manager for the Franklin County School Division, board members have approved strategies and regulations for administrators, teachers, support personnel and students.

Local firm Hoffman Building Technologies, the new energy consultant firm for the school district, said the school division stands to save $300,000 per year through energy and utility reductions.

Procedures for reducing energy have been put into place and are expected to be followed by every department associated with the school division.

School principals and administrators will be charged with leading the energy reduction program and will monitor the energy usage in their respective buildings.

Some of the day-to-day procedures implemented include turning off unnecessary lighting and equipment when not in use, closing classroom windows and doors when heating and air are in use and after school hours, programming computers for the "energy saver" mode, eliminating paper documents when possible and recycling all paper.

All new appliances and equipment purchased for the school division will meet Energy Star certification, and personal items belonging to staff members (coffee pots, space heaters, aquariums, personal refrigerators, etc.) are no longer approved for use.

"Energy conservation measures, strategies and procedures will be continuously suggested or developed by the energy management team and implemented in the appropriate FCPS facilities or departments," the proposal states.

Hoffman's initial contract will cost the schools $230,000 per year for two years and will include several equipment upgrades.

The firm will attempt to identify energy savings opportunities to curb excess energy use through behavioral factors and by pointing out inefficiencies in the school buildings.

The firm will also establish baseline and annual project performance reporting, according to Jon Crutchfield, director of facilities and transportation for the school system.

During the October school board meeting, Crutchfield told board members that Hoffman offered a turnkey program solution with an energy manager and support staff, no associated "soft costs" or additional fees, and included all software and miscellaneous costs.

The cost for the firm's services is lower and the contract commitment is shorter than other companies that submitted bids, Crutchfield said.

Hoffman's contract includes a clause allowing the school division to opt out of the program if the company does not produce the intended savings, according to Finance Director Lee Cheatham.

Funds to pay for the program, an estimated $19,000 a month, will come from the school division's budget for electricity and heating oil, Cheatham said.

Franklin County public schools spent about $1.6 million on electricity and heating oil during the 2012-13 school year.

A third party review was also included in Hoffman's proposal "to verify savings are being achieved."

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