Energy updates on the table

WILTON — A potential merging of the Wilton and Lyndeborough elementary schools has the School Board turning its gaze on a potential warrant article being considered for the upcoming District Meeting, and wondering what is prudent to pursue.

In February 2013, all three schools in the Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative District underwent an extensive energy audit by Honeywell, a Manchester company that invents and manufactures energy-efficiency technologies. Honeywell made a presentation to the School Board and administration with a long-term plan for replacing multiple systems in the schools, which would ultimately save on energy costs. The district originally planned to finance the updates with a warrant article requesting permission to finance the conversion over the course of 15 years, with the energy savings balancing out yearly payments until the systems were paid off.

Honeywell presented two possible scenarios. One would update water conservation, lighting and heaters, and minor heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, for a total of $650,419. The potential savings of the update would be $917,614 over the course of the next 15 years. The other, a more expensive option, would be to install a more comprehensive controls systems at all three schools and include more comprehensive heating and ventilation upgrades. The cost is an estimated $1,117,628, with a projected $618,358 in savings over the next 15 years. Should the district decide not to move forward with the conversion, it will still have to pay Honeywell $10,000 to for the auditing services.

But before the district could move forward with discussion of which scenario to endorse, however, a different discussion came to the forefront: the consolidation of the local elementary schools. Now, Supt. Christine Tyrie said the board will have to decide whether they wish to finance energy efficiencies at the elementary school level, when there may be major structural changes coming if the district approves consolidation and expansion of Florence Rideout Elementary School to accommodate students from both towns, and converting Lyndeborough Central School into an SAU office, preschool and kindergarten center. “They may just decide to look at the high school, or they may pick and choose off the list,” said Tyrie, referring to possible energy system improvements.

The board will discuss the issue at its Jan. 14 meeting.

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