Primary school features energy efficient technology

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - Schools throughout Region 8 are set to open their doors Monday. One new building to the Paragould School District is set to save big bucks in doing so.

Though they spent a lot up front to do so, school officials say the various energy efficient features will pay for itself within a matter of years.

There are money saving aspects all throughout Paragould Primary.

"It would be nice if all of our buildings were this energy efficient," Superintendent, Debbie Smith said.

There are the savings you see, as with the lighting in the building

"We have a sensor on there where the lights will shut off on their own. Yet if someone enters back into the room, the lights will come on on their own," Phil Everitt with Perkins Everitt Lighting and Control told Region 8 News.

There are also savings that you don't see.

"Under the ground, we have geothermal wells, there are 160 wells," architect, Albert Frankenberger explained.

From those wells that heat and cool the school to the energy efficient lighting throughout the building and more, Paragould School District Superintendent Debbie Smith said they spent more up front to save money in the long run.

"It may take us a while to break even, but once that does occur, it's just gonna be additional savings for the district," Smith said.

Take the geothermal wells for instance, the half a million dollar project is expected to pay for itself within 8 years. The 200-foot deep wells produce three times the energy they consume and are estimated to reduce heating and cooling costs by half.

Lighting is expected to save about that as well. Lights will dim or shut off completely when an area is empty and raise - in classrooms to 80% and in hallways and larger areas of the building, to just over half their potential power.

"So even when they're using energy, they're only using 55% of that energy, so they're saving 45% of that energy cost at all time," Everitt explained.

Smith said the choice to outfit the building with these energy saving features was easy.

"It's just more money that we may have available for programs, technology and things for our kids," she said.

The school even saved on thousands of feet of copper piping, as hot water in the classrooms comes from small, point of use water heaters.

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