Today’s schools must choose among a variety of funding needs. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, $542 billion is required over the next 10 years to modernize pre-K through 12th grade educational infrastructure, not including funding classroom technology upgrades or new construction to cover average daily attendance growth.

To save money, many school districts are taking steps to increase their energy efficiency with creative energy retrofit packages that fund technical infrastructure upgrades and reduce energy use and operating costs — without negatively impacting education budgets or increasing taxpayer burden.

Harris County, Ga., is a scenic, rural community 90 minutes from Atlanta. Like other U.S. school districts, the Harris County Public School District was dealing with energy infrastructure issues.

District officials wanted to upgrade facilities and improve energy efficiency without increasing budget or sacrificing curriculum.

Harris County worked with ABM and its Bundled Energy Solutions (BES) program on a solution that included facilities and energy upgrades to seven schools and three administrative buildings to:  

  • Replace 70+ pieces of heating and cooling equipment
  • Install thousands of high-efficiency LED lights and 700 occupancy control devices
  • Retrofit 300+ water consuming devices
  • Implement an energy management control system

The project was completed June 30, 2014. Harris County anticipates saving more than $10 million in energy and operating costs over a 20-year period. The project is expected to reduce the school’s utility costs by 36 percent annually with no incremental capital cost, additional tax demands or school program cuts. The improvements are 100 percent funded through the existing operating budget with results guaranteed by ABM.

“ABM’s program allowed us to make significant upgrades to our facilities without additional burden to an already tight budget,” says Craig Dowling, superintendent of Harris County School District.

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