Making the (Up)Grade

School district receives rebates from electric co-op for energy efficiency upgrades lowering energy costs

A Central Indiana school district tested by faltering chillers at a middle school answered with an upgrade earning high marks from the school’s electric cooperative: a $25,000 energy efficiency rebate.

Zionsville Community Schools (ZCS) received the Power Moves® rebate from Boone REMC, its local electric co-op, for upgrading to more energy efficient chillers when replacing the school’s three previous chillers in April 2021. The Zionsville West Middle School chillers had been in need of frequent repairs in recent years. The new chillers use significantly less energy than the previous equipment the school had been operating on since opening in 2007.

“The building operates not just during the school year, but it houses many of our summer programs, and a lot of opportunities for the community,” said Rebecca Coffman, assistant superintendent of operations for Zionsville Community Schools. “We knew that it was a prudent decision to replace the three chillers.”

A voter-approved referendum provided the school district with the funding needed to address multiple issues, including the chiller replacements. ZCS Energy Auditor Ryan Dickson worked closely with Boone REMC’s energy advisor on the chiller project and the rebate qualifications.

“The process was really easy, honestly,” Dickson said. “I personally did the application and waited until the project was complete, and then just submitted everything that I could.”

The chiller project is not the first time that Zionsville school employees worked with Boone REMC. The electric co-op’s energy advisor has toured all ZCS school buildings to offer advice to district employees regarding possible upgrades that could save energy and qualify for rebates. Boone REMC employees have also done school presentations about energy efficiency.

“We understand the important role that our schools play in the community, and we know that it’s vital that they are able to support children and families,” said Bill Conley, president and CEO of Boone REMC. “We are also aware of how invaluable financial resources are for schools, and we are happy to be a partner with our community schools to improve reliability while lowering costs.”

The Power Moves rebate that the district received helped fund additional needed projects, Coffman said. After the chiller project, Dickson continued working with Boone REMC employees as construction projects in the school district continued into the summer.

“It is fulfilling because at the end of the day, it’s for the students that we serve,” Dickson said. “The more efficient that we can be as a school system and the more money we save goes back into our schools and provides resources for teachers to be able to best support students.”

Project
• Replacement of multiple chillers providing cooling at Central Indiana middle school

Partners
• Boone REMC

Partnership Highlights
• Power Moves rebates for energy efficiency replacements that save 214,631 kilowatt-hours annually
• Boone REMC energy advisor answering questions and giving presentations about energy efficiency steps employees can take to improve energy use

Financial Impact
• $25,000 in Power Moves® rebates for energy efficiency upgrades
• Additional savings in long-term energy costs

 

Download the Zionsville West Middle School Power Moves Case Study.

CASE STUDY

Fresh Air

Mascot Truck Parts needs compressed air to function. Without it, business screeches to a halt. When the company opened its Plainfield, Ind., doors in 2015, it used two 75-horsepower air compressors that had been in storage at another site in Canada. Yet it wasn’t long before they showed their age – and cost the company in high energy use.