ECPPS eyes LED lighting project
By Reggie Ponder
Friday, November 23, 2018
Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools officials are considering a proposal to covert all school facilities to LED lighting as a way to save money on energy costs.
Chris Nelson and Ted Vogel of Helios Energy attended a committee meeting of the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education Monday afternoon. Helios has proposed a service contract allowing it to install and maintain LED lighting for some 1.2 million square feet of space at ECPPS facilities.
According to its proposal, Helios would cover the upfront costs of installing the LED lighting and then contract for maintaining the lighting over a designated period — likely seven years. LED, or light-emitting diode, lights generate as much as twice the amount of light for the same amount of energy.
School board members agreed to discuss hiring Helios to perform an energy audit of the district. The audit would cost $36,000, but Nelson said it would be rolled into the total project cost if the board agrees to a LED lighting service contract with Helios of five to seven years.
School officials are still exploring whether a request for proposals or request for qualifications would be required for the LED project.
An RFQ is a qualifications-based selection process. It is not a bid. It is a request for firms to submit their qualifications to be considered for a project.
An RFP is a more traditional bidding process that solicits specific, detailed proposals for the work that will be done and the price.
One or the other will be required for the project. Regardless of which process is followed, school officials say work converting school lighting to LED could begin in early 2019 if the board votes next week to move the project forward.
According to Nelson, the project would be paid for with energy savings. If the board agrees to a seven-year contract, for example, Helios expects the school district being able to pay off the project’s costs in that time frame, he said.
“In year eight you start reaping all the savings,” Nelson said. “We want you to enjoy some savings after you’re done with the contract.”
Board member Barry Overman, who recently was elected to the Pasquotank Board of Commissioners and was chairing his last committee meeting for the school board, asked Nelson about the timeline for the project. Nelson said he expects it would be completed within 12 months but his goal would be even sooner.
Nelson said the lighting work would be scheduled in such a way that it would not disrupt classes.
“It’s a partnership,” Nelson said. “When you work with us, when we work with you, we see it as a partnership.”
Overman asked If Helios would use local contractors for part of the work. Nelson said his firm would use local contractors as much as possible.
Overman said lighting is the right place to start looking at savings on utilities costs because 30 percent of electric cost is lighting.
Andrew Cox, ECPPS finance director, and Frankie Floyd, district maintenance director, said Helios wants to become a maintenance partner with the school district. Following the lighting project, it might, for instance, propose a project related to heating, ventilation and air conditioning, they said.