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ACPS to Save Money from New Environmentally-Friendly Upgrades

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Classroom at Baker-Butler Elementary School Classroom at Baker-Butler Elementary School
Lindsay Snoddy Lindsay Snoddy
Hillary Bigman Hillary Bigman
Dimmer switch at Baker-Butler Elementary School Dimmer switch at Baker-Butler Elementary School
LED lights inside a Baker-Butler Elementary School classroom LED lights inside a Baker-Butler Elementary School classroom
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Schools in Albemarle County are getting an environmentally-friendly make over.

Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) signed an energy-savings performance contract with Ameresco.

Crews are installing LED lights and low-flow fixtures in 22 schools. The goal is to improve the overall learning environment while also lowering operating costs, saving ACPS close to $700,000 a year.

The project is expected to reduce the school systems' carbon footprint by 3,500 tons per year.

"All the fixtures that we had in here before were each 96 watts, and the fixtures that you see in here now are each 30 watts," said Lindsay Snoddy, assistant director of Environmental Health and Safety at Building Services.

Meanwhile, low-flow fixtures in school bathrooms will reduce water usage: "For the urinals we've gone from a gallon per flush to a pint per flush, so tremendous savings. For toilets, we went anywhere from 3.5 gallons per flush down to 1.28 gallons per flush," Snoddy said.

Baker-Butler Elementary School teacher Hillary Bigman says the use of LED lights has had a "progressive and life changing” effect on students.

"The lights were too bright beforehand, and I would turn some off and have lamps on. But now with the dimmer I'm able to adjust it based on what I'm doing or how the weather is outside,” said Bigman.

The total cost of the project is around $7.5 million, but the improvements are expected to save ACPS more than $8.7 million over the 12-year contract.

Albemarle County Public Schools plans to use money saved by these improvements to fund additional projects for classrooms.