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Larson: Energy savings part of Glenbard’s commitment to fiscal responsibility

Community Voice

David F. Larson is the superintendent of Glenbard Township High School District 87.
David F. Larson is the superintendent of Glenbard Township High School District 87.

In 2014, voters authorized Glenbard District 87 to issue $35 million in bonds to help finance critical renovations and repairs to our four high schools and a classroom addition as part of our 10-year, $100 million Master Facility Plan. We will invest an additional $65 million from our capital improvement operations budget to fund a myriad of projects, including:

• renovating classrooms, science labs, locker rooms and restrooms

• upgrading mechanical systems

• upgrading computer and electrical power distribution system

• improving visitor entrance security

• replacing roofing

• upgrading energy-efficient lighting.

To date, we have spent $80 million, more than half of which was invested in mechanical system improvements. A major area of focus of the work has been on energy efficiency, and the significant improvements we’ve made in all of our buildings will result in reduced energy use and cost savings. In the past three years, we have replaced decades-old boilers, chillers, air-handling units and outdated lighting systems, many that were original to their building’s construction.

We have invested more than $40 million in replacing or adding mechanical systems. One of our key referendum commitments was to add air conditioning at Glenbard East and Glenbard West, and this was completed in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Even with the addition of air conditioning at these schools, we project $320,000 in net annual energy savings.

We also realized one-time costs savings through energy rebate grants. We have applied for $1.4 million in energy rebates and have received $1 million in payments to date.

As part of our energy savings initiative, we will apply for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star certification. Energy Star is a joint program of the EPA and Department of Energy. Its goal is to help consumers, businesses and industry save money and protect the environment through the adoption of energy-efficient products and practices. The Energy Star label identifies top-performing, cost-effective products, homes and buildings.

I am proud of our Board of Education's vision and our school administrators’ leadership
in driving cost-effective, efficient solutions that free up resources for instruction. By leveraging state-of-the-art energy controls systems and following our district’s energy standards, we will ensure that we meet our savings targets.

Energy savings projects implemented in the past three years:

• replaced heating plants with low-pressure, energy-efficient boilers

• installed energy-efficient LED lighting and new ceilings

• added air conditioning at Glenbard East and Glenbard West

• installed green roofs and solar panels on classroom addition at Glenbard West

• replaced multiple air-handling units

• replaced cooling plant with energy-efficient chillers at Glenbard North and Glenbard South.

We will continue to focus on cost savings and efficiency to maximize taxpayer dollars targeted for instruction.

David F. Larson is the superintendent of Glenbard Township High School District 87.

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