Jun 272012

By Naomi Hatch —

The technical staff at Midstate Energy has been involved with numerous heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades targeting energy reduction and improved comfort.

Midstate reviewed facilities in the Snowflake School District, then made recommendations to replace outdated or inefficient equipment where an energy savings could be realized. The firm’s representatives presented a site-by-site break down for each school, with recommendations being made at a special district governing board meeting held June 19. The firm’s proposal was approved two days later at the board’s regular meeting.

Midstate officials used site interviews, inspections, billing data reviews and program reviews to develop short and long term energy reduction goals that were discussed.

The assessment team identified a total energy, behavioral and operational savings of $180,000 per year, depending on which energy conservation measures the governing board chooses. The annual energy savings represent an approximate 22 percent reduction in the expected annual costs for the district.

Information presented by Midstate Energy stated, “Snowflake Unified School District’s recommended upgrades and conservation measures would reduce electric consumption by approximately 1.3 million kWh each year.”

Midstate had prepared a detailed summary of each site that noted, “The performance contract proposed by Midstate Energy guarantees that savings pays for the project.”

The firm would provide more than an energy assessment; it would work with the district to create a comprehensive energy behavior management program that would support the district in reducing energy use while working with the district to create a culture that embraces conservation.

An equipment training program would be available and would increase the self-sufficiency of staff. After completion of installation, there would be on-site training and at no additional cost Midstate would provide technical support.

“We still have to go through a contract process with our attorneys if this is approved tonight,” District Superintendent Hollis Merrell advised board members at their June 21 meeting.

Ben Madsen of Midstate Energy was present and said they also have to go through a financial process.

“The good news is that a lot of communities around you use the same legal team,” said Madsen, noting that they are tough attorneys, but they do what is best for the school district.

“I see Midstate Energy as the middle guy,” said Board President Ashley Davis. “I think we could save a lot more if we hired one or two technicians that are good with this stuff.” He acknowledges that whether those positions could be funded depended on the maintenance and operations budget.

“It’s a lot and we’re way behind from where we need to be,” said Davis, who moved to support this and approve the performance contract. The motion passed unanimously.

“It’s been absolutely a pleasure to work with your staff and your team,” said Madsen. “You’ve got a lot of people working here who really care.”