Newton BOE considers LED retrofits

Project finalization as soon as March

By Cody Willoughby -

PLEASANT HILL — Newton Local School District’s board of education convened for a short meeting on Wednesday.

Brad Neavin, account executive for Energy Optimizers USA, was present at the meeting to address the board on possible alternatives to conserve energy within the district, which included retrofit opportunities that would save the district money on its energy bills.

Neavin emphasized the usage of LED bulbs within the schools, citing the life expectancy of a standard bulb at five years in comparison to the LED life expectancy of 20-22 years.

Members of the board inquired about the possibility of solar energy conversion. Neavin suggested such a conversion is dependent on tax credits the district doesn’t currently have, although interested investors may bring such tax credits in the future.

“Get your buildings as efficient as you can with LED, and you’ll see that solar rates tend to match,” Neavin said.

“I think it’s important to use taxpayer money to teach kids how to be innovative,” said Superintendent Pat McBride.

Neavin projected finalization for the project by March, with installation completion by July, with labor headed by his company Energy Optimizers.

“It’s labor-intensive for us to do it all, but less hassle in the long run for the district,” Neavin said. “It’s something we do all the time.”

Board member Nate Oburn inquired if there would be any advantage to getting in during the summer as opposed to bringing in labor during the school year to work in the evenings.

“I don’t believe so,” Neavin said. “Financially it’ll make little difference if labor is working seconds.”

Board member Nick Hamilton confirmed that potentially moving forward on the project did not make him nervous, insisting “we’re saving money by doing this.”

The board will reconvene on Wednesday, Jan. 10.

Project finalization as soon as March

By Cody Willoughby