Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

November 25, 2011

Bullard ISD upgrading lights, energy efficiency

BULLARD — Bullard ISD will soon be brighter.

School board members approved an expenditure of about $200,000 to retrofit and relamp lighting fixtures at all campuses.

All-in-all, the district is going to retrofit 2,200 units and change 12,100 bulbs.

The district is looking into hiring Incline Electric for the project, and if things go as planned, the project will not cost the district or taxpayers any additional money.

Superintendent Keith Bryant said Bullard is looking into getting grants from Oncor, which could take an additional $55,000 off the price tag.

“The financing Inline is offering school districts at this time is somewhat unprecedented,” said Dennis Mercer, president of Inline Electric. “What we are offering is the total cost of (the) project divided by 24 months —zero percent interest.”

Mercer said the company will hold off charging the first month's payment of about $8,500 (assuming the Oncor rebates are acquired) for 60 days to allow the district to see energy savings for the first month. Savings are expected to be around $8,700 per month, officials said.

“You're always seeing a month of savings before your payment is due,” Mercer said.

Bryant said the payments will come out of district funds already budgeted for utility bills.

The district has three different types of light fixtures in the district, T12 fixtures, T8 fixtures, and metal-halide lamps, Bryant said.

Older T12 fixtures are in the middle, primary and intermediate campuses. He said because of federal mandates, the bulbs and ballasts used in these fixtures will not be manufactured or sold after the end of 2012.

“It's a deal where it is either pay me now, or pay me later ... you are going to have to change out your lighting because they have quit making them,” Bryant said.

Officials said another factor that spurred the change was HB 3693, passed by the Texas legislature in 2007, requiring school districts to lower their energy consumption by 5 percent each year for five years.

The newer elementary and high school campuses have T8 fixtures with 32-watt bulbs. The district is  switching out the bulbs for more efficient 25-watt bulbs. Officials said with the newer technology, one less bulb will be needed in each fixture and each will put out more light.

Gymnasiums at the high school and elementary campuses use bulbs called metal-halide lamps. These use a lot of energy and put out a lot of light. They take a long time to warm up, make a slight buzzing sound and are very expensive to use, Bryant said

These will be switched out for T8 fixtures that will put out more light, use less energy and will not require additional time to warm up.

Bryant said he hopes to begin on the project over Christmas break.

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