Van Dusen Hall

Van Dusen Hall on the Sandhills Community College campus

Officials at Sandhills Community College have taken steps to make their tree-filled campus even more environmentally friendly.

The board of trustees of Sandhills Community College has approved a Guaranteed Energy Savings contract with Pepco Energy Services, Inc. to install energy conservation measures that should reduce energy consumption and energy-related operating costs at both the Moore and Hoke County campuses of the College.

The project is financed through a $4.79 million tax-exempt equipment installment financing agreement for 19 years plus a one-year construction period. The energy savings resulting from the performance of the contract “will equal or exceed the total cost” of the financing with the annual savings guaranteed by Pepco.

Sandhills President John Dempsey said the upgrade was “a good thing” for Sandhills.

“This affects our campus heating, lighting and all our systems,” Dempsey said. “We borrowed the $5 million and will pay the loan back with the energy savings we get. It’s an interesting concept.

“I think that what we’re doing is right for the environment, and right for our bottom line,” he said. “It makes a lot of sense.”

College Board of Trustees Chairman George Little said the agreement was perfect for the 50-year old campus.

“This opportunity is a real answer for colleges, government agencies and other entities, because the contractor has to guarantee that the savings are sufficient enough to pay off the loan,” Little said. “If it’s not accurate, the contractor has to pay.

“Some of our buildings were constructed in 1965 and 1966 and used chillers for cooling, which were becoming obsolete. I saw what Western Carolina University had done with a similar project, and I spoke up for it and advocated its use at Sandhills Board of Trustees meetings. Hoke County Schools have used this for about three years, and Moore County Superintendent Bob Grimesey did it in Virginia. The County of Moore could utilize this project as well.”

Brenda Jackson, executive vice president for Sandhills Community College, said the project represents “a 36 percent energy reduction on our campuses.”

“Performance contracting allows us to make much-needed improvements now and pay for them over time while reaping the rewards of energy savings, reduced maintenance personnel time in upkeep on old equipment, and a more comfortable and green environment for our students, faculty and staff,” Jackson said.

Energy conservation measures to be installed during the one-year construction period include indoor and outdoor lighting improvements, chiller replacements, direct digital control installation, and building envelope improvements.

The measures were evaluated for best value and inclusion by Pepco and Sandhills Community College for the priority of energy savings, improved comfort, urgent equipment replacement needed, and strategic operational and advantages to the Sandhills Community College facility plan.

“The process has been long and detailed,” Jackson said. “Our director of facilities, Doug Smith, initiated the process in January 2015 through a request-for-proposal for energy performance contracts.”

Smith said that construction work should begin next month.

“After reviewing proposals and conducting interviews with energy saving companies, the college selected Pepco Energy to work with on this transaction,” Smith said. “The partnership between our two organizations has been excellent from the beginning.”

Jackson said the improvements will be very beneficial to both campuses.

“Much of the equipment needed to be replaced, but the college did not have the funds to do so under current operating budget constraints,” Jackson said. “This project is great for the college for a variety of reasons.”

The upgrade was authorized by North Carolina General Statute 143-64.17C, which involves the conservation of energy, water, and other utilities in government facilities.

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