By Martha Jacob –
The RULH school system will receive $883,000 from the state to improve energy efficiency in the district.
A news conference was held May 23 at the Ripley Union Lewis Huntington High School lecture hall to announce the project.
RULH schools has partnered with Energy Optimizers, USA, to improve the district’s energy efficiency performance, and expects to save nearly $88,000 annually as a result of the improvements, according to RULH Board Treasurer Jeff Rowley.
“We will replace outdated, inefficient systems with state-of-the-art energy efficient technology for a significant savings to our taxpayers,” Rowley said at the conference, “We will not need to request money from our community to fund this project and the savings will pay back project costs in less than 10 years.”
According to Superintendent Linda Naylor, the $883,000 project includes energy savings enhancements at the elementary, middle and high school buildings. Upgrades to existing building automation systems and advanced energy management programming will be key components to the project.
“These enhancements will include numerous lighting upgrades to both the interior and exterior of each facility,” Naylor said. “This will reduce the electrical load districtwide.
“Of even greater importance,” she said, “our students will benefit from better lighting and an improved, more comfortable learning environment. We will also be able to reduce the amount of tax dollars that we spend on utility bills and related maintenance costs over the long term.”
In attendance at the news conference were Senator Joe Uecker and State Representative Doug Green.
Uecker commented at the meeting, “It is important that we do whatever we are able to, in order to help preserve our state’s natural resources. This partnership between Ripley Union Lewis Huntington Local Schools and Energy Optimizers, USA is a great step in helping ensure that we are protecting these resources while giving back and improving the community for our future generations.”
Funding for this project is provided through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission’s House Bill 264 program, enabling the district to make these cost-cutting improvements at no expense to taxpayers. The project is expected to begin soon and completed by September 2016.
“This is a great opportunity for our district,” Naylor said, “It lets us borrow the money to do this project, then it will be paid back each year by our savings. Both Senator Uecker and Representative Green said that even though this program has been in effect for many years, this is the first time for RULH’s district.”
Energy Optimizers, USA works with educational, governmental, commercial and industrial customers to implement energy savings opportunities to reduce operational costs, including lighting retrofits, renewable energy projects (wind and solar), HVAC retrofit projects, building automation retrofits and energy education programs.