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Janesville School District saves $126,000 in energy efficiency upgrades

The school district of Janesville, Wisconsin received $237,572 from Focus on Energy to install new boilers and variable frequency drives in six elementary schools. These projects would not have been possible without the community’s support of a $22.5 million referendum in November 2020.

Photo caption: (Left to right: David Leeder, senior facilities manager; Shawn Galvin, Lincoln Elementary School principal; Greg Ardrey, school board commissioner and Alliant Energy engineer; Chris Seitz, Focus on Energy; Andrea Fasciano, Helm Group; Brett Mead, Helm Group; Maria Dierking, Helm Group. Not pictured: Patrick Gasper, Janesville School District public information officer)

The district is comprised of 17 buildings, one of which still had the original boilers from 1958. The typical life expectancy of a boiler is 15-30 years. The boilers in these buildings ranged from 22-62 years old. Not only do replacement parts become difficult to acquire with age, but they were operating at around 70% energy efficiency, consuming far too much natural gas.

This upgrade to hot water condensing boilers with a 90%-plus efficiency rate allows the district to recycle unburnt natural gas rather than vent it out as the old system did. The district also moved to a direct digital control system and installed variable frequency drives on its heat pumps. The improved automation gives the district enhanced control over its buildings' environments with the ability to target specific areas to heat and cool.

"These upgrades are critically important to the future of our schools," said David Leeder, senior facilities manager with the Janesville School District. "Even though we've done a great job maintaining the existing systems, they were not operating as efficiently as they could. We must provide students and staff with a reliable and efficient heating system."

The district worked closely with its Focus on Energy Advisor and trade ally, the Helm Group, which already serviced the existing equipment. Together they made sure the district selected energy-efficient equipment that qualified for financial incentives. The Helm Group also focused on the automation component to ensure the district had complete control over the new heating equipment.

The following schools in the Janesville School District will benefit from these upgrades:

  • Lincoln Elementary School.
  • Monroe Elementary School.
  • Madison Elementary School.
  • Kennedy Elementary School.
  • Harrison Elementary School.
  • Van Buren Elementary School.

With savings of over 92,500 kilowatt-hours and 154,800 therms the first year (the equivalent of powering 171 homes for an entire year), the district may save upwards of $126,000 annually.

This content was originally posted by our partner, Focus on Energy. Focus on Energy is Wisconsin utilities’ energy efficiency resource program funded by utility companies like Alliant Energy. The partnership provides resources, incentives and rebates that benefit electric and gas customers across Wisconsin.

"These upgrades are critically important to the future of our schools."
David Leeder, senior facilities manager with the Janesville School District

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