$4 million project to conserve energy, save money for Lima schools

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* The Lima News
LIMA — Lima schools has partnered with Energy Optimizers USA to launch a $4.4 million energy conservation project that officials say will save the district more than $400,000 a year.

Energy Optimizers President Greg Smith said that since the project has a life expectancy of 25 years, the district stands to earn more than $6 million in “true, positive cash flow” after the project has been paid in full. Another benefit, Smith said, is taxpayers will not be responsible for footing the bill.

The district will use its utility savings to help pay for the project, along with funding from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission’s House Bill 264 program. According to a news release, the program guarantees that savings from the project will be met or exceeded.

The purpose of the project, officials say, is to improve the educational environment of classrooms and facilities by investing in brighter LED lighting systems, as well as increase comfort by upgrading the district’s HVAC systems. The district will also install high efficiency condensing boilers and energy-saving features in its kitchens.

Improvements will be made in all 10 of the district’s buildings, and much of the money saved from the project will be reinvested into classrooms. Superintendent Jill Ackerman said there will scholarship opportunities for students, and thousands of dollars for educational materials. In addition, a group of students will have the opportunity to travel to Columbus for an educational program on energy bikes.

The project also includes developing a district-wide Energy Education & Awareness Program that will involve the participation of students, staff and the community for the purpose of promoting and implementing energy savings and sustainability programs throughout the district. These programs include recycling, a district-wide energy management system and integrating educational materials into classrooms that will assist teachers in educating students on energy and the environment.

Ackerman said it was important to involve students in this project.

“The kids truly need to understand the 21st century and the technology that’s involved in it,” she said. “When you understand all the electricity we consume with all the technology we have in our homes, you realize we need to find ways to conserve that for future generations.”

Ackerman said the project will be implemented over the next several months.

Reach Lima News Journalist John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima

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