Buffalo Public Schools
Renovated schools provide enhanced educational opportunities for all Buffalo students
At a Glance
- $71 million — Energy and operational savings projected from the energy performance contracts with Johnson Controls.
- 65 — Facilities renovated to improve energy efficiency, enhance the learning environment, and increase safety and security for students and faculty.
- 34,000 — Number of students who will have equal access to high-quality learning environments at all schools in the district as a result of the renovation project.
The challenge: Modernize every school in the district to deliver quality educational opportunities for all students
The Buffalo Public School District believes that all of its 34,000 public school students should have access to high-quality, safe, secure academic environments that provide equal educational opportunities. To ensure this, the district pledged to improve the energy efficiency of its schools in addition to maintaining a secure environment for students, faculty and staff. Bringing every school in the district up to these standards was an enormous undertaking that involved renovating its 65 facilities, some of which were quite old and, at best, had received routine maintenance over the years. In addition, the district was faced with addressing a backlog of deferred maintenance. Achieving the district’s goals was going to require a substantial amount of money.
The solution: A multi-year, multi-phase, district-wide renovation program funded in part by energy and operational savings
Buffalo embarked on a multi-year $1.4 billion school modernization project. Fortunately, the State of New York had a funding mechanism in place to cover nearly 93.7 percent of the estimated cost, but the economically strapped city had to find a way to cover the remaining 6.3 percent. In answer to the gap in funding, Buffalo entered into a 20-year, multi-phase performance contract with Johnson Controls, designed to generate $71 million in energy and operational savings over the duration of the contract, as the result of a broad range of improvements.
A major concern of the district was to maintain school safety through upgraded technology. To that end, Johnson Controls managed the installation of approximately 4,000 security cameras across the district, plus large plasma monitors at each school’s main office to view security video in real time, as well as intelligent card systems to help ensure that only authorized individuals can access school facilities.
Under the terms of a service agreement that is associated with the performance contracts, Johnson Controls supports all the equipment and controls that were installed. At the same time, the district wanted to be self-sufficient with regard to operating and maintaining its facilities, so Johnson Controls developed and implemented training programs for district staff.
Results and benefits
The retrofits, upgrades and other improvements have resulted in lower energy costs, funding renovations that transform all Buffalo schools into first-class learning environments. Renovated classrooms are wired for leading-edge computing, networking, internet and intelligent whiteboard technologies. Lighting is better. Spaces are more comfortable. Hallways, classrooms, labs, libraries, cafeterias and gyms look, feel and work much better for students and teachers alike. The project also helped the district meet its aggressive 25 percent diversity goal by hiring women-and minority-owned suppliers, contractors and employees.
Johnson Controls has an understanding of how older buildings work. While we have preserved the integrity of these magnificent and historic buildings, Johnson Controls has allowed us, through state-of-the-art technology, to make them safe, comfortable and energy efficient. As a result, this has helped to make the Buffalo school district a model to which other districts might aspire.
– Paul McDonnell, Buffalo Public Schools Architect
Johnson Controls can work with you to create more energy efficient schools in your district. Contact us to learn how to make your facilities work more efficiently, sustainably, and profitably, or try our operations and energy savings calculator today.