The Altar Valley School District covers nearly 600 square miles of high Sonoran desert and mountains outside of Tucson, Ariz., in Pima County. Summers in the area can be extremely hot, and students often face outdoor temperatures in excess of 100 degrees at the beginning of the school year.

New York-based ABM had been providing custodial services to the district for over a year when it became aware of the HVAC, energy efficiency and budget concerns confronting the district. Foremost were new budget cuts that were due to begin in the 2014-2015 school year with an estimated budget decrease of $147,000. This meant administrators were faced with having to cut art, physical education and full-day kindergarten programs; charging in-state fees for sports participation; or increasing class sizes across grade levels.

After six months of analysis, ABM found a way to implement more than $430,000 in facility upgrades using the firm’s bundled energy solutions. Using money already in the district’s operating budget, the program could completely fund energy efficiency and infrastructure improvements. The customized program is guaranteed to save more than $732,000 in energy and operating costs over the next 15 years.

Improvements included installing a web-based, automated energy control system to manage energy use, reduce repair costs to HVAC equipment and notify staff of any problems as they arise. The company installed LED lighting in Robles Elementary School’s library and cafeteria. The firm instituted HVAC upgrades at Altar Valley Middle School’s library, the district’s administration office and transportation buildings. The abandoned well at Altar Valley Middle School, that was restored to working order, alone provides annual savings of approximately $23,000.

“From inception to final completion, this process has been an interesting and educational experience for me as the Altar Valley district’s operations manager,” says Patrick Carano. “One element which stands out for me was the elimination of metered water used for our irrigation system. This undertaking consisted of using an existing well located at one school and re-routing the water to newly installed water lines tied into the current infrastructure. The outcome will result in substantial water savings for the district.”

The ABM Altar Valley project was completed in late August 2014.
Learn more about ABM here.

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