Shorewood school officials signed off on an estimated $5.9 million energy efficiency project Tuesday night, which they say will pay for itself over time as the district reaps the benefits of reduced utility costs.
In December 2011, Honeywell/ESG was hired to perform an assessment of the district’s facilities, identifying areas where Shorewood could save money on energy. After the analysis, officials decided to move forward with a slew of projects, 13 of which are self-funding projects totaling $2.3 million and six additional projects, which are not self-funding, costing $3.6 million.
Work included in the project includes utilizing energy efficient lighting, improved lighting controls, patching up areas where there's air leakage and plumbing efficiency improvements across the district, along with projects at most district faclities like installment of a new ventilation system in the high school gym.
To fund the projects, the district will borrow $6 million. But with an estimated , there will be a corresponding decrease in the resident tax levy of an estimated $1,128,518, according to the district. Officials plan to put a minimum of $500,000 of the levy reduction toward the project, reducing the amount of the borrow to $5.5 million.
The district expects to save $181,886 annually, which it will put toward the 15-year, $6 million borrow. Business Manager Mark Boehlke said the district will make interest-only payments until 2019 on the borrow, at which time promissory notes associated with a 2008 renovation will be retired and the district will start making principal payments. Officials say there won't be a net tax levy impact from the project through 2019.
Shorewood also expects $28,000 in rebates through the Focus on Energy, a statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program.
One of the projects officials are still vetting is the replacement of a steam boiler system at Atwater Elementary School. District maintenance staff say it’s on its last leg, and something has to be done. But, the district doesn't want to purchase another steam system, but rather refurbish it for an estimated $80,000 or purchase a hot water system, costing $1.7 million. Officials have budgeted $322,946 for the boiler in the cost of the total project.
Officials hope as they bid out for other projects, they come in lower than their estimates and they can use those funds to purchase the hot water system.
Boehlke said it will depend on the cost of new hot water system on whether the district elects for a new system or to refurbish the current system. Boehlke said a new hot water system is estimated to cost $1.7 million, but they won't really know until they bid out for the system.
“The thought was, why spend $300,000 on a system we don’t want,” he said. “We’d rather limp it along, because if we purchased a new steam system, that’s what we’d have for the next 30 years."