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8-19-14: Grant funds energy-saving improvements
8-19-14: Grant funds energy-saving improvements
Posted on 08/19/2014

Lighting is being improved in most school parking lots and along campus walkways this summer thanks to a state energy grant awarded to the district last spring.


The $500,000 grant, which will be supplemented with local money, will also pay for automated pool covers at Rogers and Puyallup high schools and improvements to some high school heating and cooling systems to make learning spaces more comfortable.


The district will contribute $1.2 million from its general fund and expects to receive another $279,000 in estimated utility company incentives to help fund the improvements.


Most of the work is expected to be completed by November 1.


The district expects to recoup its financial contribution in about 10 years by saving an estimated $132,000 a year, said Gary Frentress, director of capital projects.


New LED lighting


Long-life, light-emitting diode (LED) lamps are being installed this summer to replace bulbs in school parking lot light poles, as well as those mounted on buildings that light pathways in and around schools and support buildings.


LED lamps are expected to last 20 to 25 years, depending on the number of hours used, Frentress said.


“The new lights will improve the quality and coverage of exterior lighting for a safer campus,” he said.


The improved lighting will also help drivers, especially when it’s dark or foggy, to see pedestrians in school parking lot drop-off and pick-up zones, Frentress said.


Furthermore, the lights are directional, which means they can be angled to light up specific areas on campus. This, in turn, reduces light pollution in residential communities around schools.


LED lamps also won’t have to be purchased and changed as often, Frentress said, which will reduce the amount of staff time spent on replacements.


Automated pool covers


New automated pool covers will reduce the amount of energy it takes to heat the high school pools and reduce evaporation rates, Frentress said.


Evaporation creates moisture, which can cause damage such as corrosion and dry rot inside the building over time, Frentress said.


“It’s a serious problem,” he said. “Buildings can deteriorate from the inside out.”


The automated pool covers are easy to operate and deploy in two to three minutes, Frentress said.


Heating and cooling systems


Upgrades will be made to high school heating and cooling systems, reducing temperature fluctuations and increasing comfort levels in the Rogers High Commons, Puyallup High gym, and Emerald Ridge High classrooms.


The Rogers High Commons, for example, has high ceilings. Heat rises to the top and takes time to work its way down to spaces occupied by students and staff, Frentress said.


“It’s wasting energy to heat the unoccupied portion of the room,” he said.


Improvements will cause the air to mix more evenly and provide more comfort for those studying or eating in the Commons, he said