Case Study: Performance Contracting

Nelson County Schools

Nelson County SchoolsBardstown, Kentucky

A 40% Reduction in Energy Use District-Wide

CMTA was proud to partner with the Nelson County Board of Education, located in Bardstown, Kentucky, for two phases of Guaranteed Energy Savings Contracts for their schools. Totaling more than 820,000 square feet, these buildings were home to aging systems and significant problems, but CMTA was able to deliver solutions.

The Challenges

  • Addressing the issues and needs of the District without access to traditional funding
  • Identifying low cost/high yield energy conservation measures across the entire school district, and leveraging the savings to fund significant infrastructure upgrades at 3 schools
  • Managing the logistics, scheduling and coordination of multiple subcontractors within the confines of a tight schedule during the school system’s summer break
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CMTA is a fantastic partner. They answer questions promptly and accurately and continue to help even when there isn’t a fee. Created with Sketch.

Tim Hockensmith, Chief Operations Officer

Nelson County Schools, Bardstown, Kentucky

The Solutions

In 2014, CMTA was selected to perform an HVAC renovation to Cox’s Creek Elementary School as the primary goal of the Guaranteed Energy Savings Contract. We analyzed each of the District’s facility energy profiles and existing operations, and started identifying opportunities for improvement. During our examination, our team discovered that the Nelson County High School’s geothermal system was out of balance and was running very warm throughout the year.

During a condensed two-month summer break, CMTA performed HVAC renovations to both Cox’s Creek Elementary School and Nelson County High School, along with other energy conservation measures across the District. At Cox’s Creek Elementary School, the existing hot and chilled water system was replaced with a geothermal system. The propane boilers and air-cooled chillers were eliminated, resulting in not only an energy efficient system, but a low-maintenance system as well.

At Nelson County High School, CMTA was able to balance out the thermal loads on the existing geothermal well field by renovating the central heating and cooling plant, eliminating the boilers and chiller, adding a small cooling tower, and converting the entire school to geothermal heat without adding any additional geothermal wells. This innovative approach resulted in cooler loop temperatures throughout the year, and brought the seasonal heating and cooling loads closer to balance, which is optimal for a system of this type.

It's all about relationships

We are proud of the relationships we built during our time in Bardstown. The client was kind enough to say, “CMTA is a fantastic partner to our district. They answer questions promptly and accurately, and continue to look out for our district even when there isn’t a fee involved. We’re very happy with the project and would recommend them to anyone.”

The Results

Thanks to a thorough discovery process and extensive renovation experience, CMTA was able to reduce the Nelson County School District’s energy usage by approximately 40%. Additionally, the savings generated as a result of this reduced usage created a positive cash flow situation for the District, as the annual savings exceed the annual debt service by over $150,000.

Additionally Cox’s Creek Elementary School was only the eighth K-12 building in the state of Kentucky to earn an ENERGY STAR score of 100. Cox’s Creek is Net Zero-ready and was in 2014 the most efficient K-12 school in Kentucky ever to be renovated via performance contracting.

Nelson County Schools for the years of 2016 and 2017 ranked as the #2 ranked most energy efficient school district out of 173 in the state of Kentucky. With the recent improvements that have been made, the District is eying the top spot.

Cox's Creek Elementary Energy Use

What does this data mean?
Baseline: The annual energy consumption before the project
Guaranteed: CMTA's guaranteed energy use for the client post-project
Actual: The measured energy use after the project