Lineman Digging to install new line underground

Lineman Digging to install new line underground

With assistance from a grant program from Access Energy Cooperative and power supplier Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc. (AECI), Harmony High School underwent a series of changes in their lighting and HVAC system over the past several months, which could result a potential savings of 75,000 kilowatts-hours, or about $4200, in lighting on their energy bill each school year.

The process began in the summer of 2009, when Access Energy Cooperative applied for a grant through a pilot project program offered by AECI. AECI is the generation cooperative that provides Access Energy Cooperative with their energy to distribute to owner/members. Harmony High School receives power from the cooperative and is therefore a member/owner of the cooperative.

The process began with a complete energy audit of the school, funded by AECI and Access Energy. Following a proposal resulting from the audit for energy-saving measures, a grant was approved by both entities for lighting upgrades, lighting controls, and improvements to the school’s chiller/HVAC system.

Paul Giehl, Principal of Harmony High School; and Dave Petty; maintenance engineer worked closely with their board and Access Energy Cooperative to make the changes happen. The lighting in the gym is one of the most noticeable improvements, both aesthetically and financially. By replacing the old metal halide lighting with more efficient T-5 lamps, the gym has a much brighter appearance with lighting that costs less to run. The old lights were left on all day, due to slow start up. The new lights not only consume less energy while they are on, they also can be turned off when not needed. Lighting in the bus barn, locker rooms, restrooms, cafeteria and other areas were upgraded to more efficient fixtures as well. Access Energy donated a variety of Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CLFs) to replace incandescent bulbs, wherever possible throughout the building. Sensors were installed in the bathrooms and lockers to turn lights on only when needed.

Mr. Giehl and Mr. Petty also worked to achieve some significant changes in their HVAC system, with new hardware and equipment to allow them more control over how their system runs. This will hopefully provide them with significant energy savings by reducing use on the system when it is not needed.

Between Access Energy Cooperative and AECI, a total of $18,800 was applied to the project, with Harmony covering the invoice balances. Access Energy Cooperative is proud to be a part of this project and helping the school system find ways to reduce their energy consumption and their power bill. AECI’s financial assistance in the project is greatly appreciated, and the information gathered from the pilot project will be beneficial to AECI, as we will continue to monitor the school’s usage to determine the value of the project overall to apply to forming future programs and rebates for commercial and industrial projects.

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