Overton ISD goes greener, saves through conservation


Overton ISD helped save the environment the past year – and saw a significant savings at the same time.

According to OISD Superintendent Stephen Dubose, the first year of the school’s energy conversation project exceeded expectations, netting a total savings of $113,711 to beat conservative estimates by more than $20,000.

The district’s partnership with Climatec was spawned in part by ongoing maintenance costs tied to air conditioning systems.

“The project included replacing inefficient HVAC units with new, more efficient units, replacing all thermostats with new ones that would automatically go to the default temperature when the room was unoccupied, replacing old lighting fixtures with new models that turn off automatically when no activity is detected, and setting parameters for heating and cooling temps district wide,” Dubose noted. “The HVAC units were programed to come on in a manner and time that would provide the most energy savings. Weather proofing was also added for doors, windows, and in some of the buildings’ roofs and walls.”

In the end, the district cut about $34,000 off its electricity bills in addition to savings on repairs and equipment.

“We saved much more than what we spent the year before,” Dubose said. “When you get over $100,000 at a place the size of Overton, it’s significant.

There are environmental benefits, he added, but “Really, we’re looking at the economy of the thing. We’re trying to save money everywhere we can.”

In a similar vein, during this week’s meeting of the Overton ISD School Board, representatives from Solar One proposed the district could save even more – another 20 percent off its current utility bill – by installing solar panels on some of its roofs

“The board will consider the proposal and possibly take action at a later date,” Dubose noted. It’s not the end-all solution: “The cost of the batteries are so much, we can’t store enough to save more. We’d still be saving about 20 percent in direct electricity, which is good.

“We’re really looking at the economics of the situation as much much as anything and we can help the environment too.”