School system sees $276K in savings, 28% power use decline in first year of energy management project

by Kate Evans

Morgan County Schools is reaping the benefits of their countywide guaranteed energy management project with CMTA Energy Solutions. The Morgan County School Board heard from CMTA project manager and engineer Tom Nicolas at their October 15 meeting about their first year results and cost savings.

Nicolas said the school district achieved their guaranteed savings amount and then some.

Cost savings

Nicolas said in his presentation that the school system’s first year combined utilities savings was $197,017 from the reduction in electric consumption, electric demand, fuel oil and water and sewer from the energy management project.

Morgan County Schools also saved $79,512 from utility rebates, operation and maintenance and an equipment service agreement for a total savings of $276,529.

Project scope

The scope of the CMTA energy management project included LED lighting renovations to school gymnasiums and classrooms throughout the county, water systems upgrades, Warm Springs Middle School fire alarm upgrades, HVAC upgrades and renovations at several schools and the school board office, a new ceiling fan for the middle school gymnasium, new building control systems, and a new Berkeley Springs High School air handler unit.

Some 38 middle school and several intermediate school HVAC rooftop units were installed in the fall of 2018 as part of the CMTA energy management project and to replace units damaged by a storm in 2016.

CMTA donated and installed LED solar-powered security lights for the Widmyer Elementary playground and donated lights to the high school Building C & D renovations.


Nicolas said that at Widmyer Elementary alone there was a 37% reduction in average daily energy use in the Potomac Edison bill compared to the previous year.

Year 1 results showed that 1.581 million kilowatt hours were saved in energy usage at county school facilities. That was a 26% reduction of cumulative energy usage versus a guarantee of an 11% reduction with a $79,777 cost savings, Nicolas said.

Year 1 electric demand cumulative savings results were 5,193 kilowatts saved-a 23% reduction versus a guarantee of a 12% reduction. Morgan County Schools saw an $86,965 cost savings from the electric demand reduction.

With fuel oil there was a 50% reduction versus a guarantee of a 26% reduction-a $10,693 cost savings, Nicolas said. Water and sewer cost savings were $19,581 with a 47% reduction versus a guarantee of 13%.

Year 1 highlights

Nicolas said that the results had been phenomenal and that energy use had decreased in almost every school facility with some schools and buildings showing substantial reductions.

Energy usage was down 28% for the school district. Full renovations facilities-Warm Springs Middle School, Widmyer Elementary and the school board office –had a 43% reduction in electric usage.

Schools buildings also received fantastic Energy Star scores with every facility well above the median, he noted. The project also had environmental benefits from reducing CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions.

Nicolas said that results from the first three months of Year 2 are looking good. Water and sewer savings are similar to last year’s results. Electric usage is down 3% from the same period last year and electric demand is down 20%. Encouraging staff and students to continue conserving energy is important.

Projected energy savings

A $3.5 million 15-year equipment lease purchase agreement is paying for the upfront costs for the CMTA guaranteed energy savings project. CMTA guarantees the energy savings over the 15-year lease purchase agreement term.

Some $369,261 was expected in annual energy savings from the project through utility bills, operational and maintenance expense savings and rebates. The energy savings from the building upgrades will pay for the renovations.

Budget considerations are the annual lease and measurement and verification payments along with utility cost increases. Nicolas said that while water and sewer and fuel rates have remained steady, West Virginia commercial electric rates have gone up 60% over the past nine years.


School Treasurer Ann Bell said that the school system came out $38,000 ahead when comparing 2018 to 2019.

School board member Laura Smith said that the lighting was better in the gymnasiums and classrooms and that students are more comfortable.

School board member Eric Lyda said that he likes improving the environment.