Schools to undergo “energy audit”

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 17, 2009

With schools facing another tight budget in the coming years, the Andalusia board of education discussed ways Monday of saving as much money as possible.

One of the largest expenses for the Andalusia City Schools outside of salaries, is utility costs. Skip Spurlin, PowerSouth key accounts coordinator, informed the board Monday of a company that offers free consultation for large entities like the ACS.

Spurlin said the Ameresco Corporation had previously done some work for PowerSouth and Opp City Schools, and he recommended the ACS take advantage of the free “energy audit” the company provides.

“They’re very thorough and picky, which is good,” he said. “Unlike some companies that do audits, they don’t always suggest that you use their equipment as well. They’ll tell you to use whichever equipment that will save you the most energy and money.

“If they find some problems, they look for grants and other opportunities that they can do to help you save money.”

Spurlin estimated the audit would probably take a couple of weeks for Ameresco representatives to complete. Also, the ACS would be under no obligation to perform the tasks suggested by the audit.

“Obviously, one of the biggest problems is that you’d like to make some of these changes, but the money isn’t there in the budget to do them,” he said. “That’s why they go after the grants, and other avenues like that.”

Currently, the ACS pays $18,000 each year to the Siemens Corporation to perform energy audits, as well as other services related to utilities at the ACS’s three schools.

Andalusia Superintendent Dr. Beverly McAnulty said ACS representatives plan to meet with Ameresco in January to schedule an extra energy audit in the system’s three schools.

“We are constantly reviewing our energy situation and want to make sure we are saving as much as possible,” she said. “We will be conducting another energy audit in the near future.”

The board took no official action during Monday’s meeting.