School Business Affairs May 2019 SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | MAY 2019 37 A Pennsylvania school district uses energy and operational savings to upgrade security. Enhanced Security Through Energy Upgrades By Dan Dowell safe schools W est Mifflin Area School District, a suburban district south of Pittsburgh, Penn- sylvania, wanted to upgrade the safety and security infrastructure of its facilities, but like many school districts, it did not have available funds. Rather than take on additional debt, dis- trict officials began looking for ways to cut energy consumption and use utility savings to fund the upgrades. The district partnered with a local energy performance contractor to study the district’s energy usage. A technical audit provided data that helped the district and performance contractor develop a custom- ized energy usage solution. By installing energy-efficient equipment, district officials could decrease the district’s operating budget and reallocate those sav- ings to fund the infrastructure and security upgrades. Creating Savings with Better Control The energy performance contractor and school officials studied the district’s six buildings, examining their structure, water usage, lighting expenses, and building auto- mation system performance to identify areas for improvement. For example, each facility’s building envelope—the physical separator between the conditioned and unconditioned environ- ment of the building—was assessed for gaps, cracks, and holes, which were sealed to con- trol air infiltration. Repairs reduced wasted energy, discomfort, and humidity-based issues, including mold and allergens. A detailed survey of the facilities’ light- ing fixtures uncovered opportunities for additional energy and operational savings. For example, based on the assessment, light- ing will be upgraded and retrofitted with Upgraded security systems at Pennsylvania’s West Mifflin Area High School include captive entrances to control access to the building. high-efficiency LED systems at each of the district’s six facilities. Although a plan to reduce energy focuses on mechanical and electrical equipment, water usage can also play an important role in a facility’s energy consumption. School districts consume a large amount of water every day for heating and cooling, rest- rooms, drinking fountains, locker rooms, and cafeterias, among other uses. Water conservation systems were installed at five of the school district’s six facilities, including low-flow fixtures and pedal valves. The district will be able to realize savings by updating building automation control systems to maximize energy and operational efficiency, ensuring that officials can mini- mize wasted energy. The building automa- tion controls provide administrators with the opportunity to customize temperatures PHOTOS COURTESY OF ABM