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Energy Upgrades by NYPA Provide Big Savings to Williamsville CSD | Business

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Energy Upgrades by NYPA Provide Big Savings to Williamsville CSD
Energy Upgrades by NYPA Provide Big Savings to Williamsville CSD


Newly Completed Project at District’s 13 School Buildings Reflects Wide Ranging Approach to Saving Energy

AMHERST—The Williamsville Central School District (WCSD)—Western New York’s largest suburban school district—has received a $7 million energy-saving makeover at its 13 elementary, middle and high schools thanks to a partnership with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) involving new lighting, cooling, heating and ventilation upgrades and other improvements. The wide ranging measures enhance the reliability of existing electrical systems while improving the comfort levels for building occupants, including nearly 11,000 students and 900 faculty members. Approximately 65 percent of the $7 million cost of the overall project will be funded through state aid.

NYPA President and Chief Executive Officer Gil C. Quiniones and Williamsville Central School District Superintendent Dr. Scott G. Martzloff announced today that the comprehensive energy-efficiency project, which began in September 2008, is completed and expected to save the district $537,000 a year on its utility bills and eliminate nearly 2,300 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Among the measures is a solar photovoltaic (PV) installation that is also serving as an educational tool for raising awareness of the environmental benefits of clean energy technologies.    

“The reduced power demand from the wide ranging energy-saving measures at the Williamsville Central School District underscore the considerable benefits of investing in a myriad of technology solutions for lowering electric bills,” Quiniones said. “Energy efficiency is also one of the most effective ways for managing finite energy resources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, making it a cornerstone of a well thought out approach to meeting future energy and environmental challenges. The comprehensive project at the 13 elementary, middle and high school buildings at Williamsville reflects those qualities and highlights the advantages of demand-side management improvements for which we’re giving the greatest importance to under the leadership of Governor Cuomo.”

“The comprehensive energy-efficiency upgrades completed by NYPA are delivering on the promised benefits for saving the district—and taxpayers—a considerable amount of money each year,” said Superintendent Martzloff. “Improved indoor lighting and temperatures enhance the learning conditions for our students in all 13 schools, while contributing to a better work environment for the teachers, administrators and support staff.  The District looks to continue to explore new energy-saving opportunities with the Power Authority, as we work together  to identify measures for lowering the school system’s energy costs.”

"Tough economic times call for smart money management,” New York State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. said.  “Energy efficiency is a great way for schools to help control costs and free up revenues to educate our kids. The improvements at Williamsville, spearheaded by NYPA, in cooperation with the district and the State Education Department, show what we can do if we maximize energy efficiency technologies. This type of investment reflects a sound and responsible fiscal approach to running our schools. The Williamsville project is evidence of the power of partnership and the value of energy efficiency."

WCSD, the largest suburban school district in Western New York, encompasses 40 square-miles, including portions of the Towns of Amherst, Clarence and Cheektowaga.  

Among the key elements of the varied energy efficiency measures undertaken by NYPA and the school district were the following installations:

  • Lighting improvements that included replacement of incandescent fixtures with compact fluorescent bulbs, of incandescent/fluorescent exit lights with light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures, and of T-12 fluorescent lights with more energy efficient T-8 lights;


  • New heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems;


  • A building management system (BMS) centered on computer-based technology to control and monitor mechanical and electrical equipment involved with ventilation, lighting and other indoor conditions;


  • Variable frequency drives for motors;


  • High-efficiency boilers and chillers;


  • Improvements to gas-fired domestic hot-water system efficiency;


  • Pool covers for swimming pools;


  • Carbon dioxide sensors to ensure fresh air for building occupants;


  • Incorporating “vending misers” in vending machines to reduce energy consumption through the use of motion sensors for detecting when equipment can be powered down; and


  • An 80-kilowatt roof-mounted PV array at the Casey Middle School in East Amherst.


“The extent of the energy efficiency and clean energy project at Williamsville, involving all 13 of the school district’s buildings, underscores the substantive impact it’s already having on lowering the district’s energy bills and enhancing conditions for students, teachers and other personnel,” said Sen. Michael H. Ranzenhofer. “Investment in efficiency technologies, particularly during difficult budgetary times such as these, makes good commonsense and should be strongly encouraged.  I want to salute the Williamsville Central School District for its vision in committing to this project and the Power Authority, the state Education Department and the other parties that made it a reality.”       

Among the Western New York contractors supporting the Power Authority in the energy efficiency and clean energy improvements at WCSD were two Buffalo firms—DV Brown & Associates, a full-service mechanical contractor specializing in HVAC systems, and Solar Liberty, which outfits homes and various enterprises with PV systems. A third Erie County firm, Frey Electric Construction Co., of Tonawanda, also provided various electrical services. 

NYPA provided the financing for the overall project through its Power to Schools Program, which allows districts like the WCSD to repay the costs of energy efficiency improvements over several years from a portion of their energy bill savings. In addition to the financing, NYPA provided $75,000 toward the funding of the PV demonstration project whose installed cost was $366,000.  Of that amount, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provided $196,000. 

Additional funding for lowering WCSD’s financing costs for the overall project included a $250,000 grant from the Petroleum Overcharge Restitution (POCR) Fund, which was established to provide compensation for overcharges by major petroleum companies in the past. POCR funding in New York State is administered by NYPA for the implementation of energy services projects.   

The energy efficiency project at Williamsville is among the latest energy-saving initiatives that the Power Authority has completed over the last two decades at 209 public facilities in Erie and Niagara counties. To date, NYPA has provided more than $88 million of financing for those improvements to lower annual electric bills by roughly $5 million and curb greenhouse gas emissions by more than 31,000 tons a year.

In 2011, the Power Authority invested more than $186 million in energy efficiency and clean energy projects throughout the state, setting a new record for the third consecutive year for its annual expenditures on these initiatives.

To date, NYPA has provided financing for nearly $1.5 billion for completed energy efficiency and clean energy projects at more than 3,800 public facilities, including schools, hospitals and municipal buildings. The wide-ranging measures provide annual savings to the tax-supported facilities of nearly $139 million, and for the lowering of greenhouse gas emissions by more than 836,000 tons a year.


About NYPA:

■    The New York Power Authority uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. 

■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation's largest state public power organization, with 17 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.  ■   Nearly 80 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower.  Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state.  ■    For more information, www.nypa.gov

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