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New energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems installed in PPS schools could save the district more than $70,000 a year in utility costs.

Community Park, Johnson Park, Littlebrook and Riverside all have new LED lighting throughout the schools, including classrooms, hallways, cafeterias, restrooms, and offices, thanks in part to the New Jersey Clean Energy Program (NJCEP). The new LED bulbs provide the similar “cool white” light as the old fluorescent lights, but they last twice as long, are more energy efficient, and will save the district money.

“It’s a win-win. Our staff won’t need to change bulbs nearly as often, and the district gets to lower it’s utility bill,” said Matt Bouldin, Business Administrator at Princeton Public Schools. “We are always looking for ways to reduce our operating costs and implement more sustainable practices."

In addition to new lighting, the district made other energy-saving improvements. Dozens of new HVAC units were installed under the NJCEP's Direct Install Program, replacing inefficient systems that were more than 15 years old. Several mini-splits and a heat pump were replaced with energy-efficient versions, and hot water heaters were upgraded.

The NJCEP's Direct Install Program is a statewide program that helps uncover energy savings in small businesses, nonprofits, and government organizations. It covered 80% of the cost of the district’s upgrades, allowing the district to pay about $114,000 for a $571,000 project.

Taken together, the new lighting and upgrades to the heating and cooling systems mean substantial savings for the district.

“The next step is upgrading our building control management system,” said David Harding, Director of Plant and Operations. “We are currently working to get all of our new HVAC units connected to centralized control. A building management system will allow us to monitor, temperature, humidity, and unit operations for improved efficiency across the district, while being more proactive and responsive to our students and staff, and able to monitor and improve our use of electricity.”

“We applaud Princeton Public Schools’ progress on these improvements. Changing light bulbs and making HVAC upgrades may not be the first thing most of us think about when considering how to reduce our impact on the planet, but it has big implications,” said Molly Jones, Executive Director of Sustainable Princeton.

“Two thirds of our local greenhouse gas emission production comes from heating, cooling and electrifying our buildings, so if every property owner made energy efficiency improvements like these, they could lower their annual costs and help to reduce Princeton’s carbon footprint," she said.

 

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