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VC looks for energy savings

The Vernon College board of trustees signed an agreement last week, an agreement which could result in a savings on energy costs by a goal of $2.4 million over 15 years.

College President Dusty Johnston said that a company, Ideal Impact, began by specializing in energy audits and cost savings plans for churches in Texas. The company now has several hundred independent school districts as clients.

“They are just now entering the community college market—all clients are in Texas. They have been on our campuses performing energy audits—looking at all heating and cooling that uses electricity or gas, thermostats/controls, automatic system control units, associated equipment, lighting, square footage, building plans and auditing our utility bills for the 12 months prior to COVID-19,” Johnston said.

Wes McDaniel and Garrett Jones from Ideal Impact then presented their findings from the energy audits to the board. McDaniel said the College was spending $396,000 a year on energy. He believed they could save the college $95,000 to $115,000 a year. He said his company proposed paying for $476,000 worth of improvements, which includes installing new controllers at the VC campuses. Total time of work with be 60 days. The college would be out no money, but would pay back the cost of the improvements out of energy savings – at 80 percent of the savings per month. Trustee Vicki Pennington asked how long would that take. McDaniel said five years, and then all of the savings would belong to the college. Trustee Dr. Todd Smith asked how long the controllers would last, and would they need to be replaced in a few years. McDaniel said they would last 15 to 20 years. Trustee Bob Ferguson asked how the temperature controllers would work, and how the company could lower energy costs so dramatically. McDaniel explained that it would improve the efficiency of AC and heating units by reducing the relative humidity. He said that they had over 800 Texas clients, and documented savings of over $400 million. McDaniel added, that while they did not work with private residences, he would be willing to present a free seminar for the community on reducing energy costs.

Dr. Johnston said in five years the college may have approximately $100,000 to reallocate to other places that otherwise would have gone to monthly energy bills.

The contract was unanimously approved on a motion by trustee Vicki Pennington.

Look for more on the VC trustee meeting in the print edition of the Vernon Record.

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