Maxwell Public Schools improves energy efficiency through major renovation
As a new school year begins, students at Maxwell Public Schools will enjoy a fully remodeled building, new facilities and some major energy efficiency improvements.
“In 2013, the district had an energy audit. The district had no air conditioning, an antiquated boiler system, fluorescent lighting and below average doors and windows,” said Maxwell Public Schools Superintendent Todd Rhodes. “The audit revealed that the district could save several thousands of dollars per year on energy costs. There were also structural needs as well. The board of education then decided to have a bond election.”
The school underwent two major improvements in its energy efficiency with its lighting and HVAC systems. Both systems will be controlled via the web.
Maxwell Public Schools will receive between $35-40,000 in EnergyWise energy efficiency rebate incentives through Dawson PPD and its wholesale partner, Nebraska Public Power District. The exact dollar amount will be determined later this fall.
“Bobby Johnson (Dawson PPD Energy Services Specialist) contacted me to explain the program,” said Rhodes. “We feel that we are going to have one of the most energy efficient buildings in the area, and the EnergyWise rebate program helps to confirm it.”
“Compared to Maxwell Public Schools’ average monthly electric bill, this rebate has the potential to pay for one full calendar years’ worth of electricity,” Johnson said.
The existing building and newly constructed additions all have energy efficient LED lighting with occupancy sensors. About $13,000 of the total rebate incentives will come from this project.
“It is estimated that LED lights use 50-80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and fluorescent lighting,” Johnson said.
The school also boasts a new, highly efficient VRF HVAC system. VRF, or variable refrigerant flow control, circulates the minimum amount of refrigerant needed at any one time and enables individual climate control of air conditioning zones.
An estimated $9,000 will be reimbursed. Dawson PPD also provides an incentive of $100 per ton of cooling, adding $17,500 to the rebate.
According to the school’s project architect Ryan Stearns of Hewgley and Associates of North Platte, this system was chosen for three reasons:
- Simple installation. The system was easily retrofitted in the existing building and takes less space and duct work than a traditional HVAC system. “When considering a system, installation time and energy efficiency were big factors in making this decision,” Stearns said.
- Better suited than geothermal. The initial cost of the VRF system was less than a geothermal unit. Around 100 wells would have been needed to meet the needs of the school. With the Maxwell Public School’s location so close to the Platte River, the water table was also a concern.
- Less maintenance. A majority of the equipment is housed inside compared to a traditional HVAC system.
Other building upgrades were made to the kitchen, cafeteria and science classrooms. A new gymnasium was built and space was established for industrial technology classrooms. The project is financed through a $8.9 million bond passed by voters in 2016.
For more information about Dawson PPD’s rebate programs, contact Bobby Johnson at 308-324-2386.