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New Brunswick School Board Invests $16 Million in Going Green

District Hopes to Save Money Longterm by Installing More Efficient Lighting, Heating, and Cooling Systems
New Brunswick BOE
The district's energy savings project will cost $16 million, but officials expect it will save $18 million over the next 17 yrs. Charlie Kratovil

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city school district is hoping a “green” energy savings project will save the district some “green” over the long term.

New Brunswick's Board of Education recently launched the $16 million project aimed at making many of the district's older schools more energy efficient.

The project, which began in June, will continue throughout the coming school year, with an anticipated completion date of September 2015.

The district anticipates that the upfront cost of the project will be offset by the energy savings associated with utilizing greener and more efficient technology.

These improvements are intended to cut the school district's energy usage by 41% and its natural gas usage by 25%, which would result in a total savings of over $18 million in energy costs over the next 17 years, according to projections from Johnson Controls, which has been awarded the contract for the project.

According to the projections, the school district would have a net of savings of about $2 million over the 17-year period, after the initial $16 million costs for the improvements are paid off.

“This innovative project will upgrade the school district's energy systems without any impact to our taxpayers and will reduce our carbon footprint immensely,” Mayor Jim Cahill said in a press statement.

The project is expected to reduce the district's energy and natural gas usage through the districtwide installation of new cogeneration units, updated HVAC systems, LED lighting and solar panels.

“This project will make our schools more energy efficient, eco-friendly and better for our students to learn and grow,” Superintendent of Schools Richard Kaplan said.

Some of the project highlights include:

  • a new cooling system and ceiling replacement at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School
  • boiler replacements at New Brunswick Middle School and McKinley Elementary School
  • new cogeneration systems at McKinley School, New Brunswick Middle School and New Brunswick High School
  • the installation of LED lighting at all schools in the district.

The project does not include the newly constructed Redshaw Community School on Livingston Avenue, which opened its doors for the first time yesterday.

Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls was awarded the contract following a comprehensive energy audit of the district facilitated by DMR Architects, the cost of which was reimbursed by the State Board of Public Utilities.

Johnson Controls has more than 240 active energy savings performance contracts with school districts across North America, said Sarah Zwicky, Manager of Global Public Relations for Johnson Controls.

Those contracts include more than $1.4 billion dollars in guaranteed savings for those customers, Zwicky said.

Other schools around the state which have created energy reduction plans, include Northern Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School and Frankford Township Schools, both of which contracted their services to Honeywell Building Solutions.