New Boiler, Lighting Upgrades Save MISD $14,258 a Year

New energy efficient facility upgrades at Mercer Island High School and Islander Middle School will save MISD money in the long run, according to engineering firm McKinstry & Company.

Energy savings from lighting and boiler upgrades at Islander Middle School and Mercer Island High School will result in a projected annual savings of $14,258 for the Mercer Island School District, according to a news release.

This number was released in a recent report from McKinstry & Company, an engineering firm contracted by the district in May 2010 to install the upgrades and track performance. Last year, the state awarded the school district an energy efficiency grant worth nearly $500,000 to offset the cost of the boiler replacements at IMS and Mercer Island High School. Lighting and boiler upgrades at MIHS are scheduled for completion this summer.

The MISD's energy efficiency program, called an "Energy Services Proposal", combined Facility Improvement Measures (FIMs) that would generate energy savings without direct input or action from facility personnel and those that would only generate energy savings if the facility strictly adhered to recommended operations and maintenance practices.

The following FIM upgrades were installed in both schools by October 2010:

  • Lighting Upgrades: Replacement of metal halide high bay fixtures in the main, auxiliary, and gymnastics gymnasia with T8 lamps and occupancy sensors.
  • Boiler Upgrades: This includes the existing boilers with natural gas condensing boilers totaling 6,000 MBH in capacity. This measure also included new primary circulation pumps and new boiler flues.           

According to the McKinstry report, “Our pre and post survey verification tasks have confirmed that all FIMs are on track to meet or exceed their Guaranteed Energy Savings — an estimated 75,054 kWh of electricity and 7,552 therms of heating.”

“We are thrilled with this report,” said Superintendent Gary Plano. “I would especially like to thank our maintenance staff for their constant vigilance and exceptional performance in operating and maintaining our equipment.”

(Ed. Note: The following information is from a Mercer Island School District news release.)

Dwight Schaeffer February 06, 2013 at 06:49 PM
$14,000 a year on an investment of $500,000 doesn't seem like a great return on investment to me.
Kendall Watson February 06, 2013 at 07:50 PM
Hi Dwight, I think there's some important information in that context that's missing from the press release. MISD Facilities Director Liz Leroy said that the boilers were at the end of their operational life and the $500K grant helped offset the cost energy-efficient models to replace them, rather than the cheapest boiler available. I'm still waiting to hear back on how much the overall cost was to buy the new MIHS boiler. Boilers typically last between 18-25 years. The MISD is in the process of replacing all school building boilers — I assume that they date back to the last round of renovations in the early 90s — which is now two decades ago. So they're saving $14,000 over what would have been the projected cost of operating boilers that complied with the old specs. Make sense?
Dwight Schaeffer February 07, 2013 at 09:48 AM
How much more did we spend for the boilers to make them more green? If more, than is the green boiler more important for the state to fund than basic education?
Kendall Watson February 07, 2013 at 02:22 PM
Great question, Dwight! I asked what the overall cost of the boilers were, minus installation. The MISD said they'd get back to me on that. Anyone know the running price for a standard set of boilers for a high school built for 1,200 students?


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