Carson City School District embarks on energy efficiency upgrades | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City School District embarks on energy efficiency upgrades

Dan Davis
Carson City School District

Eagle Valley Middle School is just one Carson City School District building to receive upgrades to improve ventilation, lighting and more.

Carson City School District, in partnership with McKinstry, a national leader in designing, constructing, operating, and managing high-performance buildings, has begun a series of building modernizations that will save the district $357,000 annually through reduced utility and operational costs. These savings from improvements will pay for the project over the next 18 years and will assist in improving the educational environment in eleven different campuses.

Carson City School District is also set to launch McKinstry's three-year educational-focused energy awareness and operational efficiency program called powerED. The program engages students, staff and faculty across the district in energy, water and waste conservation efforts. This program will augment the district's cutting-edge Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiatives.

In May of 2016, the district hired McKinstry to audit all the district's facilities in search of additional energy savings. This audit, paid for by the Nevada Governor's Office of Energy (GOE) Performance Contract Audit Assistance Program, identified dozens of potential improvements that would save utility and operational costs.

The final $6.1 million project includes a comprehensive LED lighting retrofit and water conservation measures across seventeen buildings; new heat pumps at Fremont and Mark Twain Elementary Schools; a new gym roof and improved HVAC at Carson Middle School; and trash compaction at three schools. Notably, without this comprehensive energy services project, the district would have had to pay for the two comprehensive heat pump retrofits out of their capital budget. McKinstry is also working to help secure an estimated $187,000 in utility rebates to offset initial costs.

With these improvements, classrooms will heat and cool more evenly, ventilation will be improved in certain areas, the light quality will be improved, equipment will function with fewer repairs, and students, staff, and faculty will be better aware of how their actions affect energy efficiency through the adoption of the powerED program.

"These improvements will enhance the learning environment, save money and upgrade our schools' infrastructure," said Superintendent Richard Stokes. "We are particularly excited about the opportunity to connect our students and staff with the modernizations through the powerED program."

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"Carson City School District is once again showing tremendous leadership in energy efficiency," said Leslie Larocque, regional director of McKinstry's Rocky Mountain division. "We applaud the state's most energy-efficient school district for their ongoing investment in budget-protecting energy-saving measures that are good for students, teachers and taxpayers."

According to the Nevada Department of Education 387.303 statewide annual financial report for fiscal year 2014-2015 (the most recent and available report), Carson City School District had the lowest energy expenditures, on a per pupil basis, of all Nevada school districts.

Energy and utility costs generally account for 20 percent to 40 percent of a school's maintenance and operations budget, and can be much higher if equipment is beyond its useful life. According to a recent U.S. Green Building Council report, factors like thermal comfort and classroom lighting "affect the stress levels, health and well-being of occupants in schools," and can influence student achievement.

The majority of the construction work will be subcontracted out to Nevada-based firms, including Alexander Mechanical, EMCOR Services, Quality Control Systems, Tahoe Fence and Warehouse Equipment Solutions.

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