April 9, 2014

Energy efficiency installed in Tupper Lake schools

TUPPER LAKE — The $1.6 million energy-efficiency project at Tupper Lake schools is complete.

New York Power Authority awarded a grant for the work a year ago and estimates efficiency measures will save the Tupper Lake School District nearly $42,000 in electric costs annually and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions yearly by 340 tons.

Improvements were made to four facilities: L.P. Quinn Elementary School, Tupper Lake Middle/High School, the district’s bus garage and the district-owned Civic Center ice-skating rink.


Superintendent Seth McGowan said electric heating systems were part of the project.

“In both (school) buildings as well as the garage, a lot of the electric heat is on these UniVent systems. Some of them were old or malfunctioning and not operating efficiently,” he told the Press-Republican. 

“The Power Authority project replaced some of them. We had been replacing them as capital funding allowed.”

In addition, new cost-effective lighting was installed throughout district buildings.

“Both at the Civic Center and in the gymnasiums, with a lot of lights, the old fluorescent lighting fixtures were replaced with high-efficiency fluorescent lighting,” McGowan said.

Other work included a new boiler system at L.P. Quinn Elementary, new unit ventilators and a domestic hot-water heater at the Middle/High School, new unit heaters at the bus garage and lighting upgrades throughout the district. 


The project grant, drawn from the Energy Smart NY initiative, was awarded after a Power Authority audit done in 2009. 

“We couldn’t fund the capital project because the return would have been too slow (over 18 years) for state-aid funding,” McGowan said.

“Municipal power in Tupper Lake is relatively inexpensive, and it would have taken longer for the project to pay off, so the Power Authority came in with a grant.”

NYPA spokeswoman Connie Cullen explained in a news release that higher fuel costs are pushing market pricing, which affects power costs across the grid.

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