Wyandotte Public Schools
Wyandotte’s aging schools transform into exceptional learning environments
At a Glance
- 1st — Wyandotte Public Schools is the only school district in Michigan to earn ENERGY STAR® status.
- 11 — Facilities renovated and upgraded with solar energy panels, more efficient lighting, and the Johnson Controls Metasys® building management system.
- $6.9 million — Estimated energy and operational savings over 15 years.
The challenge: Improve learning environments at no cost to the taxpayer
The public schools of Wyandotte, Michigan were showing their age. In fact, Roosevelt High School, once the town’s centerpiece, dated back to the 1920s. So, the Wyandotte Public Schools district needed to upgrade its schools in order to provide its 4,700 students with safe, comfortable, state-of-the-art learning environments. But there was one main challenge; this Detroit suburb had been hit hard economically and long remained one of the lowest funded school districts in the state. There was simply no money for the goal of increasing the schools’ building efficiency. As a result, Wyandotte had to find a way to make much-needed improvements without putting any additional burden on taxpayers.
The solution: Guaranteed savings to pay for upgrades and renovations
In 1998, Wyandotte Public Schools and Johnson Controls began working together to reduce operating costs while improving the comfort, safety, and functionality of the district’s eleven facilities – a collaboration that continues to this day. To make the necessary improvements affordable, the district and Johnson Controls entered into a series of performance contracts which were designed to guarantee energy and operational savings that would pay for the upgrades and renovations.
The improvements included replacing old lighting with new energy-efficient fixtures, installing photovoltaic solar panels at Wilson Middle School, using solar energy instead of boilers to generate hot water at the high school and middle school, and deploying the Johnson Controls Metasys building management system to monitor and optimize all building systems. Johnson Controls even helped the district lower its water bill by installing a rainwater capture system in the high school. The company also reduced the schools’ computer costs by turning lab computers into servers to which multiple monitors, keyboards and mice could be connected. This approach enabled Wyandotte to eliminate six of every seven lab computers, which helped save energy in the schools and decrease equipment replacement costs.
Wyandotte had an additional problem. The system needed to close one elementary school but didn’t have enough space in the middle school for those students. Johnson Controls helped solve the problem by turning labs into additional classrooms.
Results and benefits
Savings under the performance contracts are estimated to be $6.9 million over a 15-year period. The savings generated so far have enabled Wyandotte to fully pay for improvements to classrooms and facilities and to give the aging Roosevelt High School a complete facelift. As a result of numerous energy-saving measures, Wyandotte has become the first school district in Michigan to earn ENERGY STAR status. Most importantly, the district now offers all of its students and faculty exceptional learning environments that are conducive to academic achievement.
The performance contract allowed us to make significant improvements to our schools' facilities and obtain over $6.9 million in savings. It's a win-win. We are creating better learning environments and balancing our budgets.
– Dr. Patricia Cole, Superintendent of Schools
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.