Four-year project has made Wayne schools energy-efficient

WAYNE — A project the district started four years ago to improve energy efficiency in its 16 buildings has been completed.

The more than $14 million in savings expected through rebates and costs for operations and utilities over the next 15 years should cover the project’s cost, said school officials.

Improvements included 16,165 upgrades to light fixtures, replacement of 15 boilers at eight schools and installation of an energy-management system. The district also invested in 2,141 motion detectors for interior lights and 433 exterior LEDs.

All 14 of the K-12 district’s schools, in addition to its administration building on Nellis Drive and former Preakness schoolhouse on Hamburg Turnpike, now used as a branch of the public library, were upgraded.

The project was contemplated as part of the district’s Energy Savings Improvement Plan the Board of Education approved in January 2014. The plan was prepared by Ameresco, a Massachusetts-based renewable-energy company.

Gregory Somjen, the district’s architect, said at an April school board meeting construction of the improvements was finished in January, while “measurement and verification” of energy savings to be achieved by them is under way this spring.

“You’re trending very nicely,” Somjen said to trustees. “You’re exceeding the usage savings that were expected, and that translates into dollars.”

John Maso, the district’s director of facilities, said the project must maintain a level of efficiency equal to at least 30 percent less consumption of electricity and natural gas for the district to be eligible for an $815,000 rebate from the state Board of Public Utilities.

Maso said the district received $883,000 in two incentives since the project started. He said funds from the third rebate will be used to replace boilers at four schools, adding the estimated cost per boiler is $200,000.

In 2009, the state Legislature passed a law allowing government agencies to make energy improvements to public facilities and pay for them using savings that resulted from the upgrades. The district took its first step toward making such improvements when it had the BPU perform a free energy audit of its buildings in June 2011.

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Philip DeVencentis, Staff Writer, @LocalNewsPhil
Email: [email protected]