Students Thrive and Schools Save Thanks To Optimized Environmental Systems

Hoke County is a small, mostly rural county in south-central North Carolina. One of the biggest things about Hoke County is that part of it is within the Fort Bragg military reservation. Fort Bragg is the largest military installation in the country, with more than 53,000 troops and 14,000 civilians working at the post, and a total population of roughly 260,000 when military families, contractors, and retirees are included.

Hoke County’s population has been steadily growing in recent decades, due in large part to increased numbers of military families taking up residence in the county. Increased families translate to increased student enrollment in the Hoke County Schools system. The school system works diligently to provide ever-improving service to its students and families. Thus, in 2014, the administration realized that some aspects of their aging infrastructure needed to be upgraded to ensure the continued success of their endeavors.

The environmental conditions within their schools was of immediate concern, particularly during hot weather. Students had recently had to endure a hot spell with no air conditioning because some of the chillers were unable to keep up with the demand for cool air. The teachers and administrators knew that an uncomfortable physical environment in the classroom can be an impediment to student focus, learning, and achievement, and environmental fluctuations were occurring all too frequently.

The school system leadership wanted to make the needed improvements but, as with many other districts across the country, funding was the biggest hurdle. Their solution came in the form of Performance Contracting, a funding approach in which the cost of improvements are paid for by guaranteed energy savings over a set performance period. Hoke County Schools realized that Performance Contracting was the best way for them to complete the work and ensure they stayed true to their guiding principles of efficiency, simplicity, sustainability, and reliability.

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