Licking County Joint Vocational School District

Project Summary

During cold Ohio winters, energy savings in schools are hardly expected. However, within a year after Automated Logic Corporation and Aleron, Inc. of Columbus, Ohio completed a building controls retrofit for the Licking County Joint Vocational School (JVS) District the school documented dramatic improvements in facility performance and energy efficiency. The savings realized, including an 87 percent reduction in natural gas costs, greatly exceeded projected savings, saving the school money and providing an improved learning environment.

Automated Logic Corporation (ALC) and Aleron were among several vendors considered for the project, located in Newark, Ohio, about 45 minutes east of Columbus. The project scope included two buildings, totaling just over 150,000 square feet. The building HVAC, lighting, security, lab ventilation, and control systems were renovated. In addition, occupancy sensors were installed on water devices, such that automatic urinal flushing would only operate during occupancy. The retrofit required about 1,000 automation points. Aleron installed the ALC control system while school was in session, requiring a great deal of forethought, planning, and flexibility to minimize disruption to students and teachers. Says Jim Simpson, Assistant Facilities Manager for the Licking County JVS, “The worst thing about construction is going through the construction phase of it. At best it’s painful. They [Aleron] did a great job, and worked really well within the constraints we gave them.” Licking County JVS had two primary objectives: improve facility performance, and save energy. The proprietary control system replaced in the renovation was not providing satisfactory facility performance, and was not providing the energy savings needed. Says Simpson, “Our building wasn’t being controlled.” Ohio State Law permits, and encourages, boards of education to issue bonds to fund projects that will provide energy-saving improvements. A feasibility study was performed, verifying that “the cost of the proposed improvements would not exceed the energy savings likely to be realized over the next ten years (Baker’s Ohio School Law, 1999-2000).” Thus, the project qualified for this special funding.

The Ohio School Facilities Commission approved the project, and under the conditions of the law, an independent report documenting the cost savings attributable to the energy improvements must be provided to the commission annually. In the first year of operation, Licking County JVS has experienced dramatically reduced consumption of every major utility. Comparing utility costs in the main building from the 1999-2000 school year (prior to installation) to the 2000-2001 school year yields the following data:

  • Gas costs dropped by 87 percent, to $5,600
  • Electric costs dropped by 23.5 percent, to $69,000
  • Water and sewer costs dropped by 19.8 percent to $8,500

This project with its improvements saved just over $61,000 in the main building in one calendar year. The project realized a 38.4 percent total cost savings over the previous school year in both buildings despite the fourth coldest recorded December in Ohio history. Rick Orr, Facility Manager for the Licking County JVS, commented, “The bottom line is amazing, but I can only attribute the improvement to energy efficient equipment and Automated Logic controls installed by Aleron.”

When asked why Licking County JVS chose the Automated Logic system above its competitors, Orr responded, “We reviewed many firms and their operations during the process. I wasn’t satisfied with the technology that was being presented until I talked with Aleron, and they demonstrated the Automated Logic control system to me and my staff. We then visited a school with the system in operation. It was clear what we wanted in our school. The system is so simple and user-friendly that it made me very comfortable presenting this to the Board of Education.” Jim Simpson added, “Everyone else wanted to sell us a maintenance agreement, and were real secretive of how their system worked. They wanted to be in control of the repairs. We wanted to be in control and enjoy the flexibility of being able to reprogram a little bit – to make this a little warmer if we wanted it a little warmer, that a little cooler if we wanted it a little cooler. We wanted it to be automatic, but be able to drive it where we wanted it to go.

Automated Logic was the only system that gave us the option to drive and wanted to show us how. Aleron was easy to do business with. Whatever we came up with that we wanted the Automated Logic system to do, they would make the system do it. We wanted a higher level of control than most buildings get, and we got that!”

Client: Licking County Joint Vocational School District

Location: Licking County, Ohio

Controls Contractor: Aleron, Inc., Worthington, OH


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