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January 4, 2019

School board to consider $11-million energy contract

The school system could save $487,000 year in electricity costs by installing $4.6 million worth of LED lighting, according to ABM, a global consulting company.
The project will allow us to get modern systems that require less maintenance and provide a better learning environment for kids.
— Prashant Shrestha, assistant school superintendent for business and planning
Energy Savings Project
• What: Replacing or upgrading HVAC, lighting and other equipment to cut energy costs.

• Where: 20 Fauquier County Public Schools. 

• Consultant: ABM, a global contractor with offices in Alexandria and Ashburn. 

• Cost: Possibly $11.3 million over 15 years under a lease/purchase agreement. 

• Previously: School board in October hired ABM to conduct an energy savings audit of all 20 bulidings at a cost of $185,000.

• Next: School board will review consultant recommendations Monday, Jan. 7. Final decision could come Jan. 22.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Fauquier’s school board this month could decide to spend $11.3 million on HVAC equipment and lighting that would save $13.7 million in energy costs over 15 years, according to a consultant.

For example, replacing old lighting with LED bulbs and related equipment in 18 of the county’s 20 public schools would cut $487,000 a year in electricity costs, according to ABM, a global company with an office in Alexandria.

Replacing the lighting would cost $4.6 million. Over 15 years, that would save the school system $7.3 million, according to the consultant.

The school board in October awarded ABM a $185,000 contract to audit the equipment and energy costs in all 20 buildings. The firm completed that work in December.

Overall, ABM identified $40 million worth of potential equipment upgrades. Working with school administrators and board members, the consultants narrowed the list to 88 projects with the highest priorities.

> List at bottom of story

“You’re consistent with every other clients we’ve worked with,” ABM Senior Vice President Daniel Dowell told the school board Building Committee on Thursday. “There’s always more need than you can fund. Now we are trying to find the balance. What are the must haves.”

The full board will review that list and ABM’s proposed contract in a meeting at 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7.

Under one proposal, the school board would enter a lease/purchase agreement for the equipment and its installation. A bank would finance the project, with annual “lease” payments totaling $915,000.

If the upgrades failed to produce the guaranteed energy savings, ABM would pay the difference.

Some of the projects on the list show no energy savings, however, school board Chairman Donna Grove (Cedar Run District) noted during Thursday’s meeting.

“I’m thinking because this has been sold as an energy savings project, I have a hard time including $1.5 million in projects that aren’t saving any energy,” Ms. Grove said. “Those projects definitely need to be done, but we’ve sold this whole thing as an energy savings project.”

Traditional debt financing to buy and install the equipment would make it more difficult to tackle the long list of projects. Taking on $11 million in debt would require board of supervisors’ approval.

“Part of the reasons this package was so attractive was to knock out things we can’t do otherwise,” said Dave Graham, the school system’s director of administration and planning.

“The project will allow us to get modern systems that require less maintenance and provide a better learning environment for kids,” Assistant Superintendent for Business and Planning Prashant Shrestha said.

In 2017-18, the school system spent $2.9 million on utilities. The upgrades would reduce that annual cost almost one-third, according to the consultants.

Contact Cassandra Brown at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-878-6007.


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Jimbowski · January 8, 2019 at 7:58 pm
Why no competition for a project this size? Same with the school building effort? Years ago when i was a consultant in private industry, we provided our analysis and proposal at our own costs. I know that once upon a time federal procurement regs. did not allow the company that wrote the specs to bid on the follow-on contract because it had a real competitive advantage.
nonewtaxes · January 4, 2019 at 11:33 pm
No one can project out for 15 years. What if the company that guarantees to make up any lack of savings goes broke? Then what?
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