City Schools energy plan saves $4.75 million

By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG 

Posted 11/7/17

Cleveland City Schools has been making good progress with its energy-saving efforts, and officials are hopeful a new contract with a private company will lead to more cost savings. Paul Ramsey, …

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City Schools energy plan saves $4.75 million

Posted

Cleveland City Schools has been making good progress with its energy-saving efforts, and officials are hopeful a new contract with a private company will lead to more cost savings. 

Paul Ramsey, energy manager for the school district, told the Cleveland Board of Education on Monday an energy saving plan which began in 2009 has saved more than $4.75 million. 

It was originally estimated the district's energy costs would total $14,197,782 between 2009 and 2017. The actual total over the eight-year period was $9,430,985. 

"We have gone up a little over last year, but we have consistently kept costs low ... even when factoring in things like adding Raider Arena," Ramsey said. 

The district's total energy cost for the 2016-17 year was $1,315,948, compared to $1,163,866 for the 2015-16 year. Among the factors which played into the cost increase was an increase in the cost per kilowatt hour — about a cent higher for each this year over last. 

Ramsey added the district has also been adding more and more technology into its schools, which means more power is being used for electronic devices today than eight years ago. He also cited a problem with the energy management system used to control usage of things like heating and air conditioning. 

The school board recently voted to work with a company called Energy Systems Group to add a new energy management system and swap old equipment for new. Though plans to pay for this work still have to be approved by the Cleveland City Council, Ramsey said he likes that it would give the district more control over its energy usage. 

"That is something ESG will be addressing in their contract," Ramsey said. "We're excited about that." 

Since 2009, the Cleveland City Schools system has taken measures such as adding its current energy management system and replacing some aging HVAC systems with geothermal ones. 

Though the cost savings could be improved, Ramsey noted the district is still operating at a lower energy cost than it was during its baseline year, 2008-09. That year, the district spent $1,495,667; in the 2016-17 year, it spent $179,719 less. 

Ramsey said his data proved that the district can lower its energy costs even while adding new facilities like Raider Arena. Noting there is still room for improvement, he said he is eager to see what ESG energy plan will do. 

He stressed the current plan has saved the district "almost $5 million, which is pretty significant." He added the ESG plan could lead to millions more in savings, as it would involve replacing old equipment that is not energy efficient. 

Board Chair Dawn Robinson said she was happy to see the district has continually seen cost savings with its current plan, despite any flaws. 

"I think it's interesting we've added the square footage we have and still stayed within the ballpark," Robinson said. "That's great." 

Also during the meeting, the board went over a document which could be used for the director's next annual evaluation. The board plans to vote on this document in December and will likely evaluate Cleveland City Schools Director Dr. Russell Dyer starting in January.


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