The Lynbrook Board of Education explored details of an energy performance contract presented by Johnson Controls on Wednesday that outlined how the school district could invest in energy saving capital improvements without increasing taxes.

Danny Haffel, director of business development and building efficancy of Johnson Controls — a Wisconsin-based technology and industrial company with offices on Long Island — provided board members and residents with a project overview for the district.

An energy performance contract, he said, is an agreement that allows school district to take budgeted utility and operational costs and reallocate them into energy saving capital improvements without the need for increased taxes.

The company’s plan for the district, Haffel said, would involve a $5.2 million project, with an annual tax-exempt lease payment of nearly $401,600.

According to Haffel, the district would see $263,410 in annual energy savings through the implementation of a variety of energy conservation measures, including everything from lighting controls and the installation of an energy management system, to pipe and valve insulation and boiler replacements. The district would pay for the project over the span of 15 years.

“This [would] all be paid for 100 percent out of the existing utility budget,” Haffel said, stressing the importance of controlling the use of electricity in school districts. “We’re looking to go through all the buildings and retrofit and or replace all the light in the buildings.”

Haffel said that having conducted similar projects with 70 school districts across Long Island, another issue is heat control. He noted how an Internet-based energy management system would enable school officials to control heat, as well as electrically, via smartphones or laptops to save the district money.

According to the plan, a proposed total of 4,868 light fixtures would be upgraded and motion sensors would be installed, saving the district an annual $91,026.

An energy management system, which would allow for temperature setback and exhaust fan control, would save the district $45,923 annually.

Two new dual fuel boilers at Lynbrook Middle School South would save the district $4,443 per year.

“When you do a project like this, how long does the equipment and all these replacements last?” Trustee Alicemarie Bresnihan asked.

“Everything has a useful life,” Haffel said. “Boilers could last from 60 to 100 years. But the average useful life [for installations] would be 25 years.”

Haffel provided a cost and saving summary, explaining that the lease payment of nearly $401,600 would be covered by a series of annual revenues calculated in the plan, including the $263,410 in energy savings, $16,500 in operational savings, $50,000 LIPA rebate and New York State Aid, which would total $102,915, according to the presentation. That would leave a net cash flow of $31,259 to the school district, he said.

“You’re getting upgrades to the district, instead of using our reserves,” Interim Superintendent Dr. Melissa Burak said. Trustee Robert Paskoff questioned where additional monies would come from after the district stops receiving LIPA rebates after the first several years.

“You don’t really have to make it up,” Haffel said. “The energy escalation each year will continue to grow … so your cash flow will remain positive.”

Secretary Dr. William Kayen inquired about how long the construction process would take, to which Haffel said it could range from eight to 18 months.

“We put the projects together, and we work with your architect to review all designs,” he said. “Then it gets sent to the state. Then they ask questions, then they approve it. If the board decides to go forward, it would not be this summer, but the following summer we could do this type of project.”

Story by Chris Engelhardt

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