Minneapolis-based Honeywell (NYSE: HON) says it’s helping the Taylor School District improve school facilities and infrastructure — while saving more than $550,000 in annual energy and operating costs.

The $14-million energy conservation and building modernization program, which is partially backed by funds from the federal stimulus, will enable the district to address deferred maintenance, and boost the comfort and safety of students and staff.

The district will use savings from the program, which are guaranteed through a performance contract with Honeywell, to pay for the upgrades. As a result, the work should not increase operating budgets or require additional taxpayer dollars. The district is also using an ARRA-supported Qualified School Construction Bond, which provides a low-interest, 15-year loan for the program. This financing tool allowed the district to invest most of the savings in building and technology upgrades, maximizing the program’s scope and impact.

“Most of our facilities had not gone through a major renovation in more than two decades,” said Beth Iverson, superintendent of Taylor School District. “And, like many districts in Michigan, we didn’t have the resources to properly maintain existing systems, let alone install new equipment. By working with Honeywell and leveraging energy savings to pay for needed improvements, we’re able to give our students the learning environment they deserve.”

As part of the program, Honeywell will deploy a wireless mesh network that will provide broadband Internet access across all the schools. This will expand the district’s connectivity, and allow teachers to use interactive whiteboards and other advanced technologies in the classroom. The district will also be able to integrate online learning tools and techniques to deliver educational materials more efficiently and effectively. In addition, the network will be used for a new voice-over-IP phone system.

Honeywell will also install a variety of conservation measures in all 21 of the district’s buildings. Specific changes include:

* Replacing outdated and inefficient boilers and controls used to heat schools;
* Replacing lighting with high-efficiency fixtures and occupancy sensors;
* Updating and integrating energy management systems to help facility personnel track energy use and identify additional opportunities to increase savings;
* Replacing doors and windows, and caulking, weather-stripping and sealing doors, windows and building seams to reduce the loss of warm and cool air; and
* Installing new plumbing fixtures to decrease water use.

The upgrades are expected to cut electricity consumption by 2.67 million kilowatt-hours per year — enough energy to power almost 250 homes. They will also decrease annual carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 3,300 metric tons. According to figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this is equivalent to removing more than 630 cars from the road.

“In a time when school budgets and staff are stretched thin, performance contracts give districts the flexibility to address critical needs and act in the best interests of their students,” said Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. “The program for Taylor School District illustrates how important modern, comfortable and energy-efficient buildings are to the success of a district and everyone it serves.”

Recent results from Honeywell’s second annual national “School Energy and Environment Survey” revealed that almost 90 percent of school leaders see a direct link between the quality and performance of school facilities and student achievement. However, as a consequence of rising utility bills, almost 75 percent of the districts have cut spending in key areas such as maintenance, capital investment and staffing — a nearly 10 percent year-over-year increase. For the full survey results, visit www.honeywellnow.com.


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