School District to Save Over Six Million Dollars with Solar and Energy Efficiency Upgrades
FARMINGTON, Ark., March 31, 2022 -- As one of the fastest-growing school districts in Northwest Arkansas, Farmington School District oversees almost 2,600 students and manages 600,000 square feet of facilities. In May of 2021, the Farmington School Board approved a $3,881,804 Energy Savings Performance Contract with Entegrity, an energy services company headquartered in Arkansas. Upon completion, the project will reduce the school's annual energy and maintenance expenses by nearly $300,000. The school district used the guaranteed savings for staff raises, which was the school's first raise in five years.
When Jon Laffoon was appointed superintendent almost two years ago, his first priority was to address the District's facility issues and raise salaries without the need for a tax increase from the community. "Many of the district's primary education facilities are older, we knew we were growing and were going to need additional schools in the future. On our older campuses updates to HVAC and lighting systems were necessary before we began construction. It's exciting that our board prioritized creating funding for raises and addressing the infrastructure of our older facilities. We found a way to pay for major upgrades, create financial savings, make our district safer and more energy responsible," Laffoon said.
The District decided to rely upon the performance contracting program overseen by the Arkansas Energy Office, allowing the school to pay for facility improvements with the annual savings created by the upgrades themselves. The savings are guaranteed, and, if not met, the provider will write a check for the difference. “I’m excited to witness our district take advantage of unique financial opportunities while improving our learning environment. Mr. Laffoon had the vision to address our growth, improve current facilities, and provide raises. Our board felt these were important milestones to help us prepare for the future,” Farmington School Board President Travis Warren said. “I’m especially excited for the onsite solar arrays and the opportunities for the installations to serve as a learning laboratory for our students.”
The full scope of work included district-wide LED lighting, HVAC replacements and tune-ups, water conservation measures on school fixtures, an emergency backup generator, track lighting, and solar. Entegrity will implement multiple onsite solar arrays and manage the sites with Regenerative Agriculture practices that use a combination of wildflowers and prairie grasses. The project is currently underway and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to burning 3,258,507 pounds of coal and reduce energy costs.
Chris Ladner, Entegrity's Founder and CEO, said, "Farmington Schools is leading the way in demonstrating how comprehensive savings measures, multiple financing strategies, and close team coordination can come together to solve a number of problems with a single solution."