Engineer Jonathan Gasser answers questions from Floyd County Board of Education members about steps the district can take to become more energy efficient.

The Floyd County Board of Education is banking on using savings from an energy upgrade to fund roof replacements at three schools. 

During a special meeting on Nov. 6, the board agreed to inform the Kentucky Department of Education about the district’s intent to implement a Guaranteed Energy Saving Contract, or GESC, with CMTA Energy Solutions, a Kentucky business that designs energy upgrades for school districts and local governments. 

Superintendent Danny Adkins reported that the school district has the ability to take out about $2 million in bonds for the project. If the project is approved, the district hopes to pay off the bond with savings generated by installing new LED lighting throughout the district, upgrading HVAC equipment in some locations and replacing three roofs at Prestonsburg High School, South Floyd Elementary and May Valley Elementary.

The total project cost will not be finalized until a complete review is completed and the design of the upgrades is finished, but CMTA officials reported expected costs to the school district of about $1.5 million, and the goal is to reduce that expected cost to zero. Adkins reported that he entertained proposals from another company that suggested a higher proposed district cost for the project. 

Engineer Jonathan Gasser said the school district has more than 894,400 sq. ft. in its buildings, and its score for the amount of energy it uses per square foot is about 43.2 — less than the state’s average of 50.5.

Gasser said he another other CMTA officials conducted a walk-through of county schools to determine some of the ways in which the district could save money on energy costs. Lighting and HVAC are usually a school district’s biggest expense outside of employee-related expenses, they said. 

Gasser said if the contract is approved, his company would work with a designer to replace all interior and exterior lighting in the school district to LED lighting to save funds, and the company would also review the district’s mechanical systems, HVAC systems, controls and other areas to find areas where improvements could be made. 

He repeatedly commended District Maintenance Director Greg Adams for the work that he does to save district funds on utility costs. For years, the school district has controlled lighting and temperatures in schools from a centralized computer system and, at every meeting, board members have reviewed utility reports for schools that show year-to-date and year-to-year comparisons of energy and utility consumption. 

Gasser reported that the HVAC systems at several schools — Adams Middle, Allen Elementary, May Valley, Prestonsburg High School and South Floyd — are nearing their “end of life,” and he said several others would need to be replaced in a few years, and the district would also have to replace boilers, cooling towers and other types of equipment. 

He also emphasized the possibility of the district saving funds with its water costs, trash collection, telecommunications, printers and copiers and diesel fuel purchases to fund energy upgrade needs. 

In detailing options for roof replacements, Gasser presented photographs at roofs currently on Prestonsburg High School, South Floyd Elementary and May Valley Elementary

Board members voi-ced concerns about the state of the Prestonsburg High School roof, a type of rubber roof that is leaking in several places. 

Board Chair Sherry Robinson asked if the district would still be able to fund roof replacements through this program if the bids for roof construction come in higher than expected. Gasser explained that the energy saving contract can fluctuate and that the company would tailor it to the needs of the district. 

The vote to approve the letter of intent was unanimous. 

Gasser said if the project is finally approved, the district will be reimbursed for energy savings once annually. 

“Obviously, you could assume we wouldn’t be a successful business if we were writing school district checks,” he said. “We have a level of conservatism built in so, again, we kind of under-promise, over-deliver. On average, we exceed the savings 20 to 30 percent. That is savings retained by the school district as a boost to the general fund.” 

He said the company is yet to have a client that has not exceed its savings to do date. 

“We want to keep that going,” he said. 

He said the company did the same type of projects in 10 state parks in Eastern Kentucky, including Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, and in several school districts, including the Johnson County School District. 

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