NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 5, 2013

Pentucket unveils new plan to save energy, money

(Continued)

Cost to Pentucket is estimated at $280,522 with annual savings of $59,203 projected, establishing a simple payback period of 4.74 years. Under the agreement the school district identifies when the work can be completed to minimize impact on students.

Once the entire project is completed in Merrimac, the debt for the schoolwork will be covered by energy savings retained in the school’s operating budget. No tax rate increases will be necessary, Wiseman stressed. And best of all, the ESCO guarantees that the energy saved will meet or exceed projections. If not, Ameresco will cover the difference. Actual savings are analyzed and reconciled against the guarantee by the ESCO annually and as Owner’s Agent, Peregrine verifies the savings.

Some committee members worried that the cost savings could be difficult for the district to prove and noted that calculations used by the company to provide estimates were taken before the actual savings from the latest energy improvements to the schools through the state’s Green Repair program were available to be factored in.

But Pentucket Business Manager Michael Bergeron said he saw it as a “model project” that he hopes can be replicated in all Pentucket schools. Bergeron explained that the way it works, the utility line items on the budget would remain stagnant even as annual savings were realized. Once the costs were paid off for the work in Merrimac, the continued savings would benefit all three-district towns because the cost Pentucket budgeted for energy would then decrease. Ultimately the board agreed to endorse the plan.

It then went on to approve a Statement of Interest identifying $1.5 million worth of upgrades to covering remediation to a portion of the middle school roof over the auditorium, replacing the boiler system and generator, re-caulking and weather stripping for windows, and addressing asbestos remediation in some classrooms.

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