School upgrades aim to cut energy costs

By Brenda Sexton, The Courier-Herald

New lighting, plumbing upgrades and better controls for heating systems are planned for a couple of Enumclaw schools and the district administration building since the school board opted to proceed with the findings of an energy audit by Quantum Engineering and Development of Seattle.

Southwood Elementary School, Sunrise Elementary School, Enumclaw Middle School, Enumclaw High School and the district office are expected to receive upgrades to improve facilities and save money in gas, electricity and water.

Quantum representatives Michael O'Connor and Grant Thorsland - reporting at the board's regular meeting on July 28 - said the company guarantees the cost, savings and performance of the changes.

Enumclaw Director of Business and Operations Tim Madden said district administration was looking at two things while making its decision, "What are the savings? And how quickly can we recoup?"

Board member Lorianne Taff said she was distressed to find two of the district's newer buildings - Sunrise and the administration building - on the list. But O'Connor said "technology marches quickly."

He also noted the cost in lighting changes at Sunrise will be recovered in three years.

Based on data, Quantum found the Enumclaw district spends an average of $340,000 a year in electric costs, $96,000 in gas and $48,000 in water and sewer.

The project will cost $500,000 after a $100,000 incentive from Puget Sound Energy, but the company anticipates the district will save $46,000 a year. Madden said the district can take advantage of a low-interest rate from the state. He said there is some money available in the capital projects fund which could reduce the size of the loan.

In other business, the board:

€ has been invited to talk about the reinvention process at the November Washington State School Director's Association conference.

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