Two north Arkansas community colleges have turned to Johnson Controls of Little Rock for energy efficiency upgrades that will lock in utility savings for the next two decades.
Arkansas Northeastern College in Blytheville and North Arkansas College in Harrison have signed separate efficiency performance contracts to upgrade heating and air, lighting, and weatherization. The work will guarantee significant savings and help the schools make the most of Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds, which were part of the federal government’s COVID-19 response.
Those dollars, along with other capital available for the initial project investments, will be recovered through utility and operational savings.
Arkansas Northeastern’s program is expected to yield almost $2 million in utility savings over 20 years at its three campuses — in Blytheville, Osceola and Leachville — which will get 2,600 LED lighting fixtures, 66 new and improved HVAC components and tighter weatherization across seven buildings.
The college, which has about 1,400 students, expects to cut electricity consumption 17%, according to a news release, and more savings will be achieved as fewer repairs and emergency replacements are needed.
James Shemwell, Arkansas Northeastern’s president, said the savings “will be very meaningful in terms of our ability to devote maximum resources toward the accomplishment of our mission in Mississippi County and the surrounding area.
North Arkansas College’s deal with Johnson Controls, another 20-year pact, is expected to provide savings of $309,000 over its lifetime, mainly from a reduction in electricity and gas consumption.
North Arkansas has close to 1,700 students.
Improvements will include a new chiller and pumps and a new high-efficiency boiler. Additionally, five single zone rooftop air units will be replaced with four Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) condensers and 20 indoor VRF units. The existing ductwork will also be replaced and zoned more properly to allow for more control and comfort, the release said.
“The recent infusion of HEERF Grant funding for North Arkansas College has provided a tremendous opportunity to replace obsolete environmental HVAC systems for significant air quality improvements while at the same time generating over $300,000 in utility and operational cost savings going forward,” North Arkansas College President Rick Massengale said in a statement. “It’s a big step forward for our campus.”
Alex Ray, business development manager for Johnson Controls in Arkansas, said efficiency contracts are timely now. “More than ever, colleges and universities need long-term budget certainty as it pertains to operational and maintenance expenses,” Ray said in the release. “This project with ANC provides such a long-term solution both economically and environmentally.”