June 18, 2018
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SAD 1 board OKs energy audit of school buildings in Presque Isle

By Scott Mitchell Johnson, Presque Isle Star-Herald

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The SAD 1 board of directors voted unanimously Jan. 18 to authorize an energy audit of five district buildings — Presque Isle High School, Presque Isle Middle School and Mapleton, Pine Street and Zippel elementary schools.

According to Superintendent Gehrig Johnson, the last time a full-scale energy audit was done was 15 years ago.

“That was a pretty big deal that culminated in a large retrofit of our schools … namely window replacements,” he said. “At that time, Honeywell did the audit and the work for us, and rolled the savings back in so the net effect of it was there was no cost to the district. Fifteen years is a long time and things change … buildings age, so I think now would be a good time to do an energy audit again.”

Charlie Anderson, business manager, said the first step in the process is advertising a request for proposals.

“The process is a little more cumbersome than it used to be where we would go out and pick somebody to do the audit, but under more current laws, we have to go through a qualification process,” Anderson said. “We suspect we’ll have four or five interested parties based on what other school districts have seen recently.”

Companies have until Feb. 15 to submit their qualifications.

“Most of the bids will come in on a square footage basis, which for the five buildings involved would be roughly 430,000 square feet,” said Anderson. “We expect the cost per square foot to be in the vicinity of 6 cents, so we can expect the audit to run between $25,000-$27,000. We’re suggesting that we take the upfront costs out of federal funds … some of which we still have available, so there’d be no upfront cost to the district budget in the current year.”

After reviewing the bids, the district will select a company to do the work.

Anderson said any suggested project that might result from the audit will come back to the board for consideration.

“It’s not likely that we’ll have anything ready for the upcoming budget that we’ll be working on in the next couple of months,” he said. “We look at this as part of strategic planning for the next several years. We think it’s due diligence to look at the possibility of saving some energy and upgrading our buildings … especially since it’s been 15 years.”

The audit will likely be done this spring.

“Then we’ll have the information available so we can digest it over the next year in anticipation of the 2013-14 school budget,” said Anderson.

Paul Saija, chairman of the district’s buildings and grounds committee, said the energy audit was a good idea.

“I know as we tour the buildings we’ve seen several places where renovations would be helpful,” he said. “I think any projects we do in that direction will definitely show some savings.”

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