Newbrook Energy Project
With the school’s boilers on their last legs, the Brookline-Newfane Joint School Board and NewBrook Principal Chris Pratt formed an Energy Committee in March 2012. The Committee initially included Chris Pratt, Ken McFadden (School Board), Kim Friedman (School Board), Patrick Mace (Building Manager), Gordon Bristol (consultant and Newfane resident) and Frank Rucker (WCSU CFO). Together, they explored options for a new heating system for the school.
Early on in the process, the School Board identified the following goals to help guide our thinking:
- Go as “green” as possible while remaining fiscally responsible;
- Reduce or eliminate the school’s carbon footprint;
- Provide opportunities for student learning regarding the value of investing in renewable energy;
- Promote use of renewable energy in educational facilities in Vermont.
In an effort to be responsive to and learn from the community, the School Board held multiple informational meetings on this topic. The input received at these meetings provided valuable guidance to the School Board and the Energy Committee and they formed a plan based upon public opinion and the work of their consultants.
On June 12 th , 2014, the School Board convened a special meeting of Newfane and Brookline voters to consider two related proposals: solar panels to provide electricity for the school, and a loan to help pay for a new heating and cooling system using air-to-air heat pumps. The proposed solar system, which was sized to produce enough electricity to also run the heat pumps, was defeated by two votes. The loan for the heat pumps was approved.
Subsequently, the School Board decided to ask the voters of both towns to re-consider the proposed solar system, which will include more specifics regarding the solar lease agreement. The Board also received a petition to re-consider the vote on the new heating system.
The School Board re-convened the Energy Committee, which now includes more community members. The Energy Committee, which met on July 16th, has recommended to the School Board that call a special meeting in late October to vote on both proposals. At this meeting, both the HVAC and solar projects were supported by public vote. Since, the Energy Committee has worked with Mr. Bud Debonis (WCSU CFO) to put the jobs out to bid, to create an objective selection process and then to work with our vendors to ensure a positive implementation of this important public project.
For more information, please contact:
NewBrook Principal Scotty Tabachnick at 365-7536 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Energy Committee Chair Kim Friedman at 348-7988 or email@example.com