An energy-saving project proposed for all seven of Darien's public school buildings would pay for itself each fiscal year over the course of 15 years and result in less energy usage and newer, upgraded building equipment, the Board of Education was told on Tuesday.
The proposal, put together by Honeywell under the supervision of an independent consulting company which would help monitor it, involves $6.6 million worth of changes, including replacement of the old, pneumatic-tube system of heating controls in some public schools.
Those pneumatic tubes, vital to the heating systems of some school buildings, will need to be replaced, schools Finance Director Richard Huot told the Board of Education. This would be one way of replacing them without costing taxpayers any money, he said.
The proposal is longer and larger in scope than any energy-saving project he's ever worked with, Huot said.
Board of Education Chairperson Elizabeth Hagerty-Ross said she was unimpressed by the 15-year length of the payback period. Other energy-saving projects have been proposed with much shorter periods in which school districts would save enough on energy for the project to pay for itself, she pointed out.
Those projects involved expenditure in one fiscal year that would be countered with energy savings in future years. This proposal would involve no borrowing of money by the town.
The Board of Finance may decide it wants to fund the proposed projects in some other way, Hagerty-Ross said.
School Superintendent Stephen V. Falcone said he thought the proposal would benefit the school district, but he suggested that the Board of Education and perhaps Board of Finance might want to take a tour of some nearby school district that had adopted a similar plan.
Here are the 10 areas that Honeywell would work on if it gets the contract:
- Replace various lighting equipment, motion sensors and vending machines with more energy-efficient equipment.
- Replace various pieces of heating equipment, including boilers, burners, fans and radiators.
- Upgrade systems that monitor and control building energy use.
- Replace or improve doors to better insulate buildings.
- Insulate hot-water pipes or improve insulation for them.
- Upgrade heating system steam traps.
- Replace windows.
- Improve efficiency of chiller plants—part of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system of each school building.
- Help the school district participate in the ISO-NE Demand Reduction program which reduces electricity use when the electric grid is experiencing difficulties.
- Help the school district conserve water.