Johnson Controls is an industry leader in helping commercial, government, health care, and institutional building owners manage their energy supplies, improve the efficiency and comfort of their buildings, and modernize critical building systems. One building that has benefited from Johnson Controls’ vast energy experience is Monticello High School in Monticello, Illinois.
In 1994, the school district in Monticello entered into an agreement with Johnson Controls and made a series of energy improvements to its buildings. The district’s high school, in particular, was extremely successful. The building’s problems prior to working with Johnson Controls included aging equipment, poor indoor air quality (IAQ), varying temperature levels, and out-of-date lighting systems.
The school identified several energy- and cost-saving measures. Facility improvements included the installation of a Johnson Controls Metasys® building automation system — which significantly improved IAQ and equipment efficiency — as well as lighting upgrades, insulation, plumbing, boilers, windows, and a new roof.
The district was unable to directly finance enough to make all the necessary improvements. However, school officials entered into a performance contract guarantee with Johnson Controls, which promised $3.86 million in energy and operational savings over the following 10 years. This allowed the school district to pay for some facility improvements with savings it gained from the energy-efficient upgrades.
All this planning has paid off for the school district. While some schools were scrambling to find money to pay their winter heating bills, Monticello schools barely felt the strain thanks to the district’s cost-saving improvements.
“Natural gas prices wrecked some school districts, but it didn’t wreck us,” Superintendent Mike Reeves said. “Ten years ago…it would have been devastating.”
The district has improved its energy performance every year, saving between 30 and 40 percent in energy costs last year alone. Johnson Controls was so impressed with the district’s improvements that it applied for the ENERGY STAR label. A building must achieve a score of 75 or higher on a 100 point national energy performance rating scale to earn the ENERGY STAR label.
In June, Monticello High School earned a 92 and became both the first school in Illinois and the first high school customer of Johnson Controls to qualify for ENERGY STAR. Monticello High School performs in the top 25 percent of schools in the country in terms of energy efficiency.
“The rooms are well lit and comfortable,” Reeves said. “We used to have wide variations (in temperature).”
“I really applaud the (Monticello) school board for taking such initiative,” said Julie Magee, climate change and energy coordinator with the EPA. “Schools are always eager to find ways to save money. Energy shouldn’t be overlooked.”
For its continuous efforts to improve energy efficiency for itself and for so many other businesses and entities, Johnson Controls earned the 2001 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award.