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New high school cuts down energy costs
A bigger school won't necessarily mean bigger costs for the Glynn County School System as the new Brunswick High School on Altama Avenue will likely cost the district less to operate than its predecessor on Habersham Street.

The new facility, set to open in January, is about 166,000 square feet bigger than the original school. Savings came from some intentional design measures, school system facilities director Al Boudreau told the board of education at a regular meeting Tuesday.

"Just one thing we did was place in ceramic tile floors (in the hallways) that will never have to be waxed. That's about $10,000 off the top every year we don't have to spend," he said. "Even the parking lot lights are LED lights, which are low-consumption, long-lasting."

The geothermal heating and cooling unit used in the school will also generate savings to the tune of $8.2 million over its expected 20-year life cycle. A traditional HVAC system would likely have to be replaced within 15 years.

Though the geothermal system's price tag to buy was $3 million more than for a traditional unit, the new one will reach payback in just a little more than eight years and save an estimated $6.6 million in energy costs.

"A lot of thought went into making the school easy and efficient to maintain," Boudreau said.

Overall, the school likely will cost from $5,000 to $7,000 less to operate than its predecessor.

Boudreau said those are initial estimates. He will use the next few months to see where more cost savings might be possible.

* Reporter Sarah Lundgren writes about education and other local topics. Contact her at, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 322.

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