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CC School Board OKs bulb contract, eyes saving $28K yearly on energy bill

CC School Board OKs bulb contract, eyes saving $28K yearly on energy bill

Rebate and savings will allow district to recoup full cost

The Charles City School Board on Thursday awarded a contract to convert 8,440 fluorescent bulbs to LED bulbs, taking advantage of a Mid American rebate program and setting up the district to save an estimated $28,000 annually in energy costs. It was a vote delayed by questions regarding whether the eventual winning bid by Sitler’s Supplies met the requirements of the rebate program Thursday morning, the board met to further discuss the bids of Sitler’s Supplies and Perry Novak Electric and revisit the rebate offered through Mid American to offset cost of the fluorescent to LED conversion project.

At the Monday School Board meeting, John Nielsen of Perry Novak Electric raised questions about the quality and compliance of Sitler’s Supplies product with Mid American’s rebate program. Buildings and Grounds Director Jerry Mitchell had since spoken with Dave Alberg of Mid America to have the rebate further explained.

In comparing bids, Sitler’s Supplies quoted $22 per 18 watt unit. Perry Novak quoted $28.90 per 15.5 watt unit. In submitting the specifications, School Board members asked for bids of an 18 watt unit. Monday evening, Nielsen explained why the Perry Novak bid was not for the 18 watt unit specification. A lesser wattage would not be noticeable to an untrained eye and would also save the school money, he said. According to Business Manager Terri O’Brien, Mid American’s rebate capped the cost per unit at $25 per unit.

Another concern Nielsen voiced at Monday’s meeting was how the units would be installed, by direct wiring or by replacing ballasts. The Perry Novak bid included charges to replace all of the ballasts. In a correspondence with Alberg, Mitchell was told either direct wiring or replacing the ballasts was considered an acceptable installation method and in compliance with the rebate.

In a cost analysis, Sitler’s Supplies bid specification would cost $185,680 whereas Perry Novak’s bid for a lower wattage unit would cost $243,916.

Sitler’s Supplies estimated the energy savings would be $28,000 annually, O’Brien said. “So even for 2015-16 … we’d have an additional $14,000 of savings in the general fund with through reduced energy cost.”

According to O’Brien the energy cost savings partnered with the rebate will likely allow the district to recoup almost the entire cost of the conversion this school year.

By Amie Johansen

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