Eastern Aroostook Regional School Unit 39 Launches Energy Upgrades
CARIBOU, Maine, Feb. 17 /PRNewswire/ — Teamwork can pay off when it comes to increasing environmental stewardship and energy efficiency. Administrators at the newly formed Eastern Aroostook Regional School Unit 39 are poised to launch $2.8 million in energy-saving infrastructure upgrades expected to save more than $250,000 annually, improve the learning and teaching environment, and reduce dependence on oil as an energy source.
Created last year by Maine’s school consolidation law, the district also expects to save more than 84,000 KWh of energy and 71,000 gallons of fuel by completing the improvements at the Caribou High School and Caribou Technology Center. Scheduled for completion in October 2010, the upgrades will reduce energy costs, replace aging equipment and improve indoor air quality.
The majority of the savings for the project will be driven by a new biomass boiler plant, which depends on low-cost wood chips instead of fuel oil. Savings will be enhanced by one-time incentives from Efficiency Maine totaling $11,131.
Administrators will formally launch the renovations with a ceremony and reception on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 10 a.m. in the ATM room of the Caribou Technology Center, 308 Sweden St., Caribou, Maine 04736.
The ceremony will feature two Eastern Aroostook Regional School Unit representatives: Scott Wiley, chairman, board of education and Frank McElwain, superintendent of schools. Two representatives of Trane, the energy services company with which the district is working on the upgrades, also will be in attendance.
The renovations will be funded by a performance contract, a model that allows schools to use future energy and operational savings to finance infrastructure improvement projects. A performance contract is an option for funding energy-saving improvements in buildings that provides measurable business results. By managing and optimizing energy use, schools can leverage operational savings to support strategic educational objectives.
“It’s exciting to make these changes,” said Frank McElwain, superintendent of schools. “They improve the teaching and learning experience, all while saving money and helping the environment. It’s even better that the district can accomplish this without any new taxes.”
Improved classroom conditions can actually affect student performance. A recent study in Educational Facility Planner Report found a direct correlation between classroom environmental conditions and student performance.
Customized Energy Conservation Measures
Prior to selecting specific energy conservation measures, administrators approved completion of a formal audit of district buildings to identify solutions that would best meet their needs. Selected upgrades include a new biomass boiler plant at the high school, which will account for 78 percent of the overall project’s energy savings.
The new plant will serve the entire Caribou High School complex which includes the auditorium and vocational wing The biomass boiler, compliant with the latest Environmental Protection Agency guidelines, will burn locally obtained wood chips to produce more efficient and less expensive energy than the oil-burning boiler it replaces.
Other installations at the high school will include low-flow toilets and fixtures to conserve water. New high-efficiency unit ventilators, lights and lighting controls will enhance the learning environment and reduce energy costs. New controls for the walk-in cooler and the walk-in freezer will improve refrigeration efficiency and provide a longer system life cycle. The steam to hot water conversion system will replace a failing heating system to provide greater comfort and system reliability, reduce noise levels and energy costs, and improve indoor air quality.
Energy management and computer network controls will be added throughout the buildings to monitor energy consumption. Coupled with sophisticated management software tied back to a central system at the facility director’s office, real-time status of systems and the environment in all buildings will allow proactive adjustments and reduced labor as changes are made remotely.
About Eastern Aroostook Regional School Unit
The Eastern Aroostook RSU 39 offers a top quality education program that strives to meet the individual needs of all students. Serving over 1,700 students, a staff of 325 professionals and support staff work together to ensure high academic achievement for every child and the desire to work diligently in providing the knowledge and skills necessary for students to lead successful lives.
Eastern Aroostook RSU 39 includes: Hilltop School (grades pre-K-two), Teague Park School (grades three and four), Caribou Middle School (grades five-eight) and Caribou High School (grades nine-12), Limestone Community School (grades pre-K – 12). Caribou Regional Technology Center serves as a trades skills training center for 250 high school students in Caribou as well as Presque Isle, Washburn, Fort Fairfield and Limestone. In addition, approximately 2,000 area residents participate in the Adult Education Program, which provides post secondary educational opportunities as well as high school and general vocational programming and serves the literacy, vocational and business training needs of the community.
Trane, a business of Ingersoll Rand – the world leader in creating and sustaining safe, comfortable and energy efficient environments – improves the performance of homes and buildings around the world. Trane solutions optimize indoor environments with a broad portfolio of energy efficient heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, building and contracting services, parts support and advanced controls for homes and commercial buildings. For more information, visit www.Trane.com.