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Greater Clark Looks To Solar Energy, LED Lighting For Savings

新闻.jpgJEFFERSONVILLE — Officials in the Greater Clark County Schools district are looking to cut energy costs, a move that may result in a switch to LED lighting and solar energy.

The Greater Clark school board voted Tuesday for the district to bid out different projects that may result in energy savings for the district. As is, the district spends between $2.2 million and $2.6 million a year on energy, Tom Dykiel, chief financial officer, said during the meeting.

The board was originally scheduled to vote on one major project – replacing most of the fluorescent light fixtures at Jeffersonville High School and Parkwood and Riverside elementary schools. The upfront cost of a little more than $5 million would result in more than $100,000 savings each year. However, the cost of the project would be paid by way of a bond, giving the taxpayers the bill while the district enjoys the savings.

Board member Milt Clayton took issue with the project, saying “... I think we are asking the taxpayers to do a lot with the downtown school and things like that. I have a concern right now.”

Clayton was also concerned that, considering the lifetime of the fixtures, when it was time to replace one the district would have to settle for a different model and the lights would be mismatched throughout the schools.

Superintendent Andrew Melin said the project is the first step in what he described as “a larger energy effort we are going to try to be bringing to you over the course of next 12 months.”

Changing fluorescent bulbs to LED would result in a savings of about 25 percent, he explained. Switching to solar power, another option the district is looking into, would provide further savings of nearly 75 percent.

“We just want you to know we are trying to do everything in our power to find ways to save money and energy is a way to do it,” he said.

To board member Mark Pavey, it makes more sense to implement LED lighting and solar energy in a few schools to start with rather than LED lighting alone.

“I’d be more interested in a smaller scale with solar and the LED lighting together packaged up, because then you could come back and say its a 100 percent return on investment and we could roll it out on a bigger scale,” he said. Clayton agreed.

The board opted to advertise for bids on the initially-proposed plan as well as with each school parceled separately to get an idea of what costs may be for the project.

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