Investment helps commercial complex thrive in Dayton.
By Thomas Gnau
Staff Writer, Dayton Daily News
A complex of historic Dayton industrial buildings is proving to be a haven for local artists, even as it gets a new lease on life.
The Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority Board of Trustees last month approved a $300,000 loan
to the company overseeing the Front Street buildings, a commercial complex that bills itself as “the largest community of artists and artisans in the Dayton area.”
“It’s just a very eclectic community,” said Krysten Smith, who helps manage the trio of buildings straddling East Second and Front streets. “There’s a whole variety of different types of art that we do here — from painters to sculptors, jewelers to woodworkers, screening printers, photographers.”
Pictured: Krysten Smith, Front Street Buildings manager, and Chris Meyer of Energy Optimizers, USA agree: There’s no place quite like Front Street. THOMAS GNAU / STAFF
Eight Oak Hills Local Schools buildings have attained the highly coveted U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star certification with the assistance of Energy Optimizers, USA.
The certifications are a tremendous achievement for the district, making more than 60 percent of its properties Energy Star rated. Energy Star certified buildings and plants perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide. On average, these buildings use 35 percent less energy, generate 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions and are less expensive to operate than similar buildings.
“The certifications serve as a proof of concept that the investments we have made to reduce our utility demand are paying off,” said Superintendent Jeff Brandt. “This is a third-party verification that we are headed in the right direction.”
To be eligible for Energy Star certification, a building must attain a score of 75 or higher on the EPA’s energy performance scale. Most of the district’s buildings far exceeded this threshold, with J.F. Dulles Elementary School earning a rating of 99.
The other buildings to achieve Energy Star certification and their ratings were:
Energy Optimizers, USA, partnered with Monroe-based Four Seasons Environmental, Inc., to verify the buildings’ energy performance.
The certifications come a little more than a year after the district completed an energy management project with Energy Optimizers, USA. The $4 million project improved the control and reliability of the district’s HVAC and lighting systems while significantly reducing operational costs.
“With these certifications, Oak Hills Local Schools is joining an elite group of property owners that are truly the best of the best in terms of promoting cost-effective and responsible energy use in their facilities,” said Energy Optimizers, USA President Greg Smith. “This is a district that is clearly committed to making the best use of both natural and financial resources in terms of building operations. That is something the entire community can get behind.”
As part of the energy management project, Energy Optimizers, USA, also provided funding to launch a district-wide Green Team. The Green Team involves students, staff and the community in developing, promoting and implementing energy savings and sustainability programs throughout their school districts. The team was instrumental in installing zero-waste tables in all the district’s cafeterias. Members of the team have also attended the Ohio Energy Project Leadership Summit and participated in the AEGIS Energy Bike program.
South Central Local Schools’ bid to reduce costs by improving energy efficiency has saved the district more than $104,000 in utility costs over a three-year period, Energy Optimizers, USA, has found.
In May of 2013, the district partnered with Energy Optimizers, USA, to retrofit its lighting systems with lower wattage fluorescents and to make energy efficient upgrades to the district’s kitchens.
Prior to the project, the district spent approximately $127,000 annually on energy expenses. Three years after the project’s completion, annual utility costs are coming in at $101,450 and electrical consumption is down 31.3 percent. The savings are normalized for weather.
“We have accomplished exactly what we set out to do—improve our learning environments while lowering our operational costs,” said South Central Local Treasurer Chris Warrick. “Thanks to our partnership with Energy Optimizers, USA, we are able to make a better investment by redirecting our dollars from our utilities to our classrooms.”
The majority of the work was funded through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission’s House Bill 264 program, enabling the district to make its cost-cutting improvements at no expense to taxpayers while ensuring the guaranteed savings of the project were met or exceeded. The energy savings were guaranteed by Energy Optimizers, USA, for three years.
“Every project is an opportunity for our team to find simple but effective solutions that help our clients reduce their costs, improve the quality of lighting and comfort in their buildings, and save the environment,” said Julie Birchfield, Energy Optimizers, USA, Customer Outreach Manager. “South Central Local’s leadership seized an opportunity to invest in the future and it is paying excellent dividends. That’s a return on an investment that was made at no additional cost to the community.”
Springfield Local School District is poised to launch an energy efficiency project with Energy Optimizers, USA that will save the district more than $82,000 in utility and operational costs annually.
Starting in August 2017, work will begin to upgrade the district’s interior and exterior lighting, boilers and boiler controls, and kitchen equipment with more energy efficient systems. This energy efficiency project will include work at Springfield High School, Schrop Intermediate, and Spring Hill and Young Elementary Schools. LED lighting retrofits will be installed in the stadium restrooms.
In addition, Energy Optimizers, USA will provide a three-year energy management and monitoring service agreement to ensure that systems are running as efficiently as possible. This project is expected to yield a savings of more than $82,000 annually, which will enable the district to pay off the $775,000 project in just over 13 years.
“We are building for the future by making smarter use of our energy and our operational dollars,” said Springfield Local Superintendent Chuck Sincere. “We will reduce our energy use and cut our utility bills, all without cost to our local taxpayers. The money we save will go right back into serving our students. That’s a win for our community all the way around.”
The project will be funded through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission’s House Bill 264 program, enabling the district to make these cost-cutting improvements at no expense to taxpayers while ensuring the guaranteed savings of the project are met or exceeded. The energy savings will be guaranteed by Energy Optimizers, USA, and the district and the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission will receive an annual report verifying the savings.
“Springfield Local is taking the lead in securing a better future for students by conserving resources and funding to meet the needs of the 21st century classroom,” said Greg Smith, president and CEO of Energy Optimizers, USA. “Students and staff will benefit from better quality lighting and improved balance in temperatures throughout their buildings.
The partnership includes developing a district-wide Energy Education & Awareness Program, or “green teams,” that will include the participation of students, staff and the community in developing, promoting and implementing numerous energy savings and sustainability programs throughout the district—such as recycling, creating a district — wide energy management program and integrating educational materials into the classrooms that will assist the teachers in educating the students on energy and the environment — while being aligned with the state testing standards.
Two elementary schools in the Trotwood-Madison City Schools district have attained the highly sought-after U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star certification with the assistance of Energy Optimizers, USA.
The schools, Madison Park Elementary and Westbrooke Village Elementary, join an elite group of high performing facilities. Energy Star certified buildings and plants perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide. On average, these buildings use 35 percent less energy, generate 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions and are less expensive to operate than similar buildings.
“In setting out to make our district more energy efficient, we wanted to save taxpayer dollars and serve as a leader in energy conservation,” said Trotwood-Madison City Schools Superintendent Kevin Bell. “Attaining Energy Star certification highlights our commitment to secure a better future for our students and our community. We couldn’t have done this without Energy Optimizers, USA.”
To be eligible for Energy Star certification, a building must attain a score of 75 or higher on the EPA’s energy performance scale. Both elementary schools exceeded the requirements, with Madison Park Elementary earning a rating of 87 and Westbrooke Village Elementary earning a rating of 83.
The certification is the result of a district-wide upgrade to lighting and HVAC systems that Trotwood Schools completed in September 2015.
The district partnered with Energy Optimizers, USA, to:
To date, the upgrades have saved the district more than $266,000 on electrical and gas utilities.
As part of the project, Energy Optimizers, USA, compared each building’s utility bills before and after the project. The company then used this information to assign each building a score using the EPA’s energy performance scale. The study showed that the energy conservation project significantly reduced the amount of energy needed to operate both Madison Park and Westbrooke schools.
“Attaining an Energy Star rating from the EPA is a noteworthy accomplishment for the district and its residents,” said Energy Optimizers, USA President Greg Smith. “This is a third-party endorsement that the district’s efforts to get the highest level of performance from its buildings—and make responsible use of taxpayer dollars—are paying off. We are so pleased to have the opportunity to work with such forward-looking leaders.”
Spencerville Local Schools is partnering with Energy Optimizers, USA, to upgrade its lighting systems to LEDs, a move that is expected to save the district more than $51,000 annually.
Energy Optimizers, USA, is upgrading the interior and exterior lighting systems in both the district’s K-12 and administrative buildings to the more highly efficient LEDs. The lighting uses an average of 60 percent less energy than the systems being replaced. LEDs can last up to 20 years, which translates into a measurable reduction in maintenance and equipment costs.
LED lighting also offers a quality of light that is very close to natural sunlight, which creates a more comfortable environment for reading. And because it does not have the hum and flicker associated with fluorescent lighting, it is an ideal lighting system for special needs classrooms.
“This is great news for our students and our community,” said Spencerville Superintendent Dennis Fuge. “We are going to significantly cut our energy costs and improve our learning environments essentially overnight, and we are going to do it all without cost to our local taxpayers.”
The majority of the work will be funded through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission’s House Bill 264 program, enabling the district to make these cost-cutting improvements at no expense to taxpayers while ensuring the guaranteed savings of the project are met or exceeded.
“Projects like these are a very simple and effective means for school districts to save taxpayer dollars, conserve natural resources and provide students with insight into in-demand careers in the STEM fields,” said Greg Smith, president of Energy Optimizers, USA. “These are tangible investments in the future that will pay returns to the entire community.”
According to Smith, the energy saved will be equivalent to removing 78 cars off the road or preserving 119 acres of trees.
Students will also benefit from the creation of a “Green Team.” The partnership also includes developing a district-wide Energy Education & Awareness Program that will involve students, staff and the community in developing, promoting and implementing numerous energy savings and sustainability programs throughout the district – such as recycling, creating a district-wide energy management program and integrating educational materials into the classrooms that will assist the teachers in educating the students on energy and the environment – while being aligned with the state testing standards.
The district Green Team will also include scholarships for participating students.
Article courtesy of Tristan Navera, Senior Reporter, Dayton Business Journal (link)
Like much of the blurry area where Montgomery and Warren counties meet, Social Row Road is a mix of farmland and brand new construction projects.
Springing up alongside the rows of corn on this border road, though, is a first-of-its-kind project that could become more common in the Dayton region: a senior living center in Washington Township whose roofs are crisscrossed with hundreds of solar panels. A replacement for a company property in Dayton, the new Social Row Transitional Care Facility benefits from a unique kind of funding.
From left, K. Andrew Stuhmiller, president of Kastle Electric, Chris Meyer, PACE project director for Energy Optimizers USA, and Mark Wiley, CEO of Solar Integrated Resources, in the middle of the Social Row Transitional Care Facility under construction in Washington Township.
Just three years after partnering with Energy Optimizers, USA, on an ambitious energy improvement project, Kettering City Schools has saved more than $900,000 in utility costs.
The district’s energy performance for the period running March 1, 2016, through February 1, 2017, came in higher than estimated for the second year in a row. During this period, the district saved more than $317,000 in utility bills, far exceeding the initial projections of $193,000 in savings. Electric consumption was reduced by 17.9 percent and gas consumption was reduced by more than 29 percent. The savings are normalized, or adjusted to account for outliers in weather conditions and costs.
As a result of its tremendous energy performance, the district will receive a rebate of more than $461,000 from DP&L.
“We set out to invest in the best, most fiscally responsible energy conservation measures that we could, and clearly they are paying off,” said Ken Lackey, director of business services for Kettering City Schools. “The projects we have partnered with Energy Optimizers, USA, on are enabling us to make smarter use of our utilities, which in turn makes for better investment of taxpayer dollars.”
The project, which began in 2013, included interior and exterior lighting retrofits, district-wide controls commissioning, advanced energy management programming and Energy Star certifications. In 2016, the district tapped Energy Optimizers, USA, to install a 150kW solar photovoltaic system at Kettering Middle School. The system has produced 161,281kWh to date.
This year, the district overhauled its interior lighting with LED systems. In addition to producing a superior quality of light, the LEDs will deliver approximately $151,000 annually in electrical savings. The lights will likely save more after maintenance and operation costs are factored in because LEDs can last up to 20 years.
“Kettering City Schools’ leaders have been tireless in their pursuit of measures for driving down utility costs to improve the bottom line,” said Greg Smith, president of Energy Optimizers, USA. “The entire community should take pride in the creative and proven solutions the district has invested in. The district has set itself up as a leader in energy management, and it is working to the benefit of students, teachers and taxpayers.”
Dennis Blatt, Superintendent
“The Green Teams are about bringing the work we do with school districts full circle,” said Greg Smith, president of Energy Optimizers, USA. “Our solutions enable school districts to conserve energy by replacing outdated electrical and HVAC systems with energy efficient alternatives. Then we help these districts create grassroots-level teams that are engaged in creating and leading long-term energy conservation and sustainability projects that all students can contribute to or learn from.”
In the Tri-Village Schools district, Green Team students have been collecting plastic bags for recycling and distributing reusable bags in return. Students in grades 3-6 also recently completed a pill bottle recycling project. The students collected more than 730 bottles that they sent to Matthew 25: Ministries in Blue Ash, Ohio. The organization will then send those bottles to areas that need containers to transport and store medications.
“The project provided a very concrete example for students that one person’s trash could be useful to someone else in need,” said Josh Sagester, Superintendent, Tri-Village School District.
In Trotwood-Madison City Schools, the district’s Green Team has set a goal to encourage recycling by placing collection boxes for recyclable items in classrooms. The district will also unveil a new community garden at its early learning center in 2017.
“With our community garden, students and our community members will be able to experience firsthand the relationship between a healthy planet and healthy bodies,” said Marlon Howard, Director of Operations, Trotwood-Madison City Schools.
In addition to providing the materials and support to get the teams up and running, Energy Optimizers, USA, provides scholarships for participating students, an educational trip to The Ohio State University to build a district “Energy Bike” and numerous after-school activities.
For Smith, sponsoring Green Teams isn’t just about instilling conservation-minded habits in school districts and their communities. Smith is also helping to shape the future of the industry. That’s because the teams offer the additional benefit of exposing students to career pathways in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
“STEM careers in general and energy management careers in particular are high growth fields,” said Smith. “Our hope is that by exposing students to these career options, they may take an interest in the field and perhaps one day work for us.”