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Energy contract could save Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District millions
Scott Brinton/Herald
Frederick Seeba of BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers made a presentation on energy performance contracts before the Central District Board of Education last Wednesday.

Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District officials are weighing the possibility of financing necessary energy-savings projects through an energy performance contract that could save the district millions of dollars.

Frederick Seeba of BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers in Patchogue, the district’s architectural firm, made a presentation on energy performance contracts, or EPCs, at the Central District Board of Education’s Aug. 7 work session.

Seeba said that Johnson Controls, an energy service contractor, toured the district’s buildings in the first week of August and determined that the district could pay off all of its needed energy-improvement projects and save $7 million over 18 years with an EPC.

Johnson Controls, Seeba said, primarily focused on the district’s lighting and computer controls, saying that new and improved lighting and control technology would enable the district to drastically reduce its electricity use.

On average, Seeba said, the district spends $2 million on electricity annually. That breaks down to $1.92 per square foot of building space. According to Seeba, a “very efficient” building operates at $1.10 to $1.20 per square foot. Meanwhile, Johnson Controls has indicated that it could bring the Central District’s electric use down to $1.26 per square foot.

That, Seeba said, would mean an annual energy savings of $692,000 for the district.

An energy performance contract would be “a huge windfall for Bellmore-Merrick,” said Superintendent John DeTommaso in a Herald interview.

The Board of Education, he said, is considering floating a bond, which would be subject to public approval, to finance upgrades at all five of the district’s schools — Grand and Merrick Avenue middle schools, and Calhoun, Kennedy and Mepham high schools. Possible projects include new science laboratories, bathrooms and synthetic-turf athletic fields, along with heating and lighting systems.

DeTommaso said that an energy performance contract would allow the district to remove any energy-upgrade projects, including lighting and heating, from the bond and finance them through the EPC.


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There are many issues to consider: 1. If a very efficient building operates between $1.10 - $1.20, why is the expected operations at $1.26. 2. The main point was operating the buildings electricity at lower costs, where does new science laboratories, bathrooms and synthetic-turf athletic fields fit in to this electric saving operation. 3. Have there been other inquiries with other firms that would save electricity costs. Johnson is one company, a comparison should be made. 4. Has solar energy been considered. There are many rebates and tax breaks, as well. 5 Synthetic turf is just that synthetic. Have there been enough studies to make any determination regarding the effects it could have on the environmental air quality and the long term effects on the health of the students that would be rolling in these chemicals. Aren't there negative enough health risks as it is, than to have our children ingesting these chemicals, as well as, adults. 7. As a tax paying resident of Bellmore, and the economy being unpredictable, perhaps sticking to one issue, saving money on electricity, should be our only interest at the present time. Air conditioning is a modern wonder that keeps us cool in the spring, summer and fall. That could be important for students' ability to stay focused and improve their academics.

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