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Upgrade project energizes Leetonia School District’s cash flow

LEETONIA — The Leetonia school board this past week learned that an energy project last year is yielded greater savings than expected.

An upgrade to the K-12 campus’ temperature control and lighting systems a year ago has resulted in approximately $24,000 more savings than anticipated, meaning there is that much more money in the district’s cash flow, reported Brian Wagner, president of CCG Automation.

The school board in April 2017 approved $699,670 for CCG Automation, an authorized dealer of Automated Logic, to upgrade the temperature control and lighting systems at the campus and then the next month approved a lease agreement with First American Equipment Finance for an annual payment of $82,177.99 for 10 years.

Wagner had projected a total utilities savings the past year of $72,909, but the district saved $97,300. The total savings the past year exceeds the loan payment by approximately $15,000.

And in addition to the cost savings, the project has also made an environmental impact, he said, noting the project has been the equivalent of 125 cars taken off the road, 15,000 trees planted or one-fifth of a wind turbine installed.

The school board contracted with CCG because the building automation was unreliable, not working correctly, outdated and controlling the building inefficiently.

Wagner said last year that even if the cash flow is neutral (no increase in cash balance) for the first six years, the benefits include an improvement in comfort and thus productivity; and increase in the life of the building and campus, plus a reduction in maintenance costs and greenhouse gases due to utilities running less; as well as an improvement in service response time because it can be monitored online from off-site locations.

Once the project is complete, the district should experience a savings of $71,150 each year, Wagner said. Any positive cash flow is money that can be spent on something else, he added.

Wagner said the online system means administrators can monitor occupancy of the building and schedule the utilities around when people should be in specific areas of the campus. When there is a problem, administrators are able to pinpoint the problem and troubleshoot it, and there is a service technician in office each day to assist with problems, Wagner said.

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