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The Challenge

MSAD #74, a rural school district In Maine, has four schools with a total of approximately 750 students.  The schools serve the towns of Anson, Embden, New Portland, North Anson, and Solon.  In an effort to reduce costs, MSAD #74 was interested in pursuing ways to increase their energy efficiencies, thereby reducing their operating expenses. 

Carrabec High School

    Constructed in 1980

    60,000 square feet

    Selected due to its high          
        energy costs

Carrabec Community School

    Constructed in 2004

    46,000 square feet

    Selected because it is a
       relatively new school and
       may have further
       opportunity to improve its

 Garret Schenck Elementary      

    Original construction in 
        1929; 1992 addition

    25,050 square feet

    Selected primarily due to
        its changes in enrollment
        since original construction  
        and the opportunity to
        adjust equipment  

Our Findings

   An aggregate 18%
      reduction in annual energy
      costs resulting in a savings
      of approximately $36,560

   Predicted aggregate return
       on investment of
1.6 years

   Efficiency Maine awarded
       MSAD #74 $17,125 to
       implement energy savings

   Improved capital and
       lifecycle investment
       decision making

   Extended service life of
       facility assets

    Increased occupant

Featured Project

The Solution

Maine School Administrative District #74 (“MSAD #74”) retained Cordjia Capital Projects Group (“Cordjia”) to perform an Operational Health Check and Retro-Commissioning study for the (1) Carrabec High School, (2) Carrabec Community, and (3) Garret Schenck Elementary School.


Cordjia’s evaluation included a study of the mechanical, electrical, building automation systems, ancillary systems, and building operations as well as a study of Efficiency Maine energy incentive opportunities for the three schools.  We verified that the systems and equipment were installed pursuant to the design drawings and inspected the condition and confirmed the age of all major components and systems. We evaluated all documents and sequence of operations for proper systems installation and operations. All sensors, actuators, valves, and system components were tested and operated to ensure proper operation. We also provided a cost savings study, return on investment analysis, and energy savings options.


Systems evaluated included:

  • Building Automation Systems
  • Boilers Circulation Pumps
  • Domestic Hot Water Systems
  • Air Compressors and Dryers
  • Air Handler and Split HVAC Units
  • Unit Ventilators
  • Exhaust Fans
  • Cabinet Unit Heaters
  • Fin-Tube Radiation
  • Variable Air Volume Boxes
  • Reheat Coils
  • Thermostats
  • Lighting and Exit Signage



Through the Operational Health Check and Retro-Commissioning study, Cordjia determined, in general, the mechanical systems for the three schools evaluated are in poor to good condition and could benefit from additional building automation controls. 


Additional opportunities throughout the three schools include:

  • There are boilers that have reached the end of their useful service life and should be replaced

  • A number of boilers are set up in a lead/lag sequence but do not alternate

  • Several exhaust fans are missing and in disrepair and should be installed or repaired

  • Equipment schedules should be developed which will reduce electric demand charges by 50%

  • A building control strategy should be implemented for the air handler units

  • Air handler unit discharge air setpoint spreads should be decreased

  • Air handler units should be rebalanced to original specifications

  • In areas where outside air reset is available, it should be calibrated

  • Domestic hot water systems should be completely independent of one another

  • Air leak tests should be performed on the compressed air systems

  • Various light fixtures should be replaced with LED bulbs


Efficiency Maine Incentives

MSAD #74 and Cordjia partnered with Efficiency Maine on this Operational Health Check and Retro-Commissioning initiative.  The Retro-Commissioning program established by Efficiency Maine will fund this project in two phases.  The first phase is the initial assessment report and the second phase is the implementation phase.  Both phases have the same incentive structure where Efficiency Maine will pay for 50% of the costs, up to $10,000.  All the recommendations included in Cordjia’s report fall under the implementation phase of the program.


Other Considerations


The mechanical equipment deficiencies and operational strategies identified to MSAD #74 are recommended as a first step to ensure the buildings are operating as efficiently as possible.  In line with this, Cordjia also recommended that the schools be maintained in a sustainable manner, and, as such, we recommended implementing the following programs that will continue to benefit MSAD #74 for many years to come:

  • Preventative maintenance program

  • Operator training program

  • Capital repair/replacement program



 2011 Cordjia Capital Projects Group
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