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Howell school superintendent touts district’s energy savings efforts

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HOWELL – Superintendent of Schools Joseph Isola has reported that the Howell K-8 School District has made significant strides as it seeks to save energy.

Isola addressed the issue in a Jan. 24 letter to the school community and said, “You may have noticed activity at our schools over the last several months. The Board of Education has engaged in an Energy Savings Improvement Program (ESIP) that will benefit the students and staff of Howell,”

The superintendent said the board initially performed a Local Government Energy Audit. Following a formal request for proposal process that was monitored by the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU), the board, in January 2017, approved the selection of DCO Energy as its partner Energy Services Company to collaboratively design, develop and implement the school district’s ESIP.

According to the school district, the ESIP is a BPU monitored program that enables public entities to fund energy and other capital improvement projects at no cost to the taxpayer by paying for those projects using the energy savings.

Working closely with the district, DCO Energy designed a project scope comprised of energy conservation measures that strongly aligned with core objectives centered on improving learning environments, enhancing facilities management, increasing sustainability and replacing aging equipment to reduce maintenance costs, according to the school district.

A major driver of the program is an extensive solar component creating the opportunity for minimal electricity cost solutions for Howell’s public schools, according to district administrators.

The proposed building improvements included new LED lighting, a new district-wide energy management system, boiler and chiller replacements at Howell Middle School North and Howell Middle School South, building weatherproofing improvements, classroom unit ventilator replacements and providing air conditioning in classrooms at eight buildings that currently are not climate controlled.

“As a result of these improvements, (the school district) will reduce its carbon footprint by 3,821 tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 736 passenger vehicles, conserving enough energy to power over 415 homes, or planting 4,080 acres of forest in one year,” Isola said.

“We are excited for our students to see innovative renewable energy and sustainability measures firsthand and to help promote science through STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) programs and educational materials. This project will yield benefits for our physical plants, but even more importantly, for our entire school community for years to come,” he said.

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