Southington schools look to participate in energy costs savings proposal

By Lisa Capobianco
Staff Writer
The Board of Education voted unanimously to support Southington’s participation in a $13 million energy performance contracting proposal with a company that will guarantee cost-savings and equipment improvements in school and town buildings.
Noresco, an energy company owned by United Technologies, was authorized by the Southington Energy Committee to perform an audit review of energy consumption at all town buildings. Last fall, Southington entered into a contract with Noresco for an investment grade audit, which was completed earlier this year.
“Noresco has been working with the town Energy Committee for close to a year,” said the Director of Operations and Energy Committee member Fred Cox during a recent school board meeting. “The town council this past fall entered into a contract with Noresco to perform an investment grade audit… [to] look hard and deep into all the equipment, and all the town’s buildings and facilities, including the school district looking at their vintage, what improvements could be made, and where repairs and replacements are in the near future.”
During a presentation before the school board, Noresco consultants provided an overview to identify the savings and the priorities of the projects in town buildings.
John Kauppinen of Noresco told board members that the company has conducted these projects for over 25 years in thousands of facilities. The goal is to fund the equipment upgrades through energy savings. Once under contract, Noresco will guarantee the projected savings to the town, which will be $959,374 a year, according to company consultants.
Payback would take 13 years, and Noresco will pay the difference if the actual savings are less than estimated, the consultants told the school board.
“We take a look at facilities and we come up with what energy saving opportunities are out there,” said Kauppinen during the meeting. “We guarantee that the savings from the project will the cover costs of implementing the project over time.”
The highest priority projects for the district include replacing the high school’s energy management system, hot water system and the HVAC roof top units, which were installed in 1994. During the presentation, Noresco consultants reported recommendations to Southington High School, including new rooftop heating and cooling equipment as well as converting electric heaters to direct fired natural gas and hot water. Recommended improvements for the high school’s energy management system include new direct-digital control replacing failing pneumatic controls, improved temperature control
“There are a lot of opportunities for improvements in the high school,” Kauppinen told the school board.
Noresco will present before the Town Council on April 14. If the Council approves the proposal, the school district will participate in the project.

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