BELLBROOK — Bellbrook Middle School seventh graders recently learned about the energy efficiency of their building and the district as part of the “Be E3 Smart” energy program that highlights the need for energy savings to conserve energy and to reduce costs.
Superintendent, Dr. Keith St. Pierre spent a class period with each of the eight science classes and highlighted the many ways the school was designed to be energy efficient, and he gave the students a tour of the air handler room and the boiler room, and the outside area where the backup generator and ice A/C storage tanks and compressor are located.
Students were surprised to learn the building has a Ford engine that runs on natural gas, instead of petroleum, as a backup generator. They were also surprised to see how the school makes ice and mixes it with glycol to help cool the air in very hot times, and that the ice makers work at night when the DP&L rates are lower.
Since 2001, the area has experienced signs of climate change, as 16 of the past 17 years have been the warmest years on record, and the past three years have been the warmest. The effect is increased demands for air conditioning, and the electric costs are more expensive than natural gas for heating.
Dr. St. Pierre also detailed the school’s participation in the energy conservation program. Bellbrook-Sugarcreek School District was the first district in Ohio to retrofit all interior and exterior lighting to LED.
In the first year, even before the project was fully completed, the district used 17 percent less electric and 26.5 percent less gas for $140,600 savings. In addition to the new LED lights, the district added temperature controls and motion sensors for lights. There is a CO2 sensor in the gym that senses large crowds and mixes more fresh air with the A/C or heat. In the boiler room, students could see the two big boilers, and the “pony boiler” for the warmer days that do not require the big boilers to run.
Xenia Daily Gazette news report compiled by Scott Halasz.