Horry County School District estimates $450,000 in energy costs at new, energy positive schools

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The Horry County School District expects to spend thousands of dollars on energy for the county’s five new energy positive schools. On Monday night, the board listened to a presentation of the 2017-2018 budget and the following information was a part of the facilities energy budget:

  • Ten Oaks Middle School: (Electricity $67,000, Water & Sewer $20,000, Propane $7,300)
  • St. James Intermediate School: (Electricity $67,000, Water & Sewer $20,000, Propane $7,300)
  • Myrtle Beach Middle School: (Electricity $67,000, Water & Sewer $20,000, Propane $7,300)
  • Socastee Elementary School: ( Electricity $52,000, Water & Sewer $14,500, Propane $7,300)
  • Socastee Middle School: (Electricity $67,000, Water & Sewer $20,000, Propane $7,300)

The total cost is $451,000 with a majority of the proposed costs being electricity, which may cost around $320,000.

Back in September 2016, News 13 told you about a study from an outside group that said the schools will not be energy efficient. However, Horry County School Board Chairman, Joe DeFeo, said the study didn’t take all factors into account.

“The Sefaira model, which was required by all the builders to use, does not have certain elements in it,” said DeFeo. “It does not have commercial geothermal heat pumps. It does not have other elements. So it was incapable of seeing whether the schools would be energy-positive or not.”

But the school board budgeted between $52,000 and $67,000 for electricity at each school for the upcoming school year.

“There is a cost,” added DeFeo. “An energy positive building means it produces more electricity the main thing you’re doing is reducing the elect consumption.”

DeFeo told News 13 back in 2015 he heard about energy positive schools from one already built in North Carolina.

“What we know for a fact that the school produces and it produces more energy than it uses,” said DeFeo in a 2015 interview.

Now, DeFeo says you can make a school energy neutral, but at some point the cost outweighs the benefit.

“Where I want it to be is getting a potentially $150,000 electric bill down to 30, 40 or $50,000 that’s where I want it to be,” he added.