DCO Energy, Jersey City Public Schools embark on energy savings improvement program project

Lawrenceville-based DCO Energy has finalized a contract for a $122 million Energy Savings Improvement Program, the largest ESIP ever approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, to help assist and develop a renewable future for Jersey City Public Schools, the third-largest public school district in New Jersey.

DCO Energy has over 75 ESIP projects in its portfolio, amounting to over $725 million in total project dollars. Jersey City Public School District has a total of 44 schools, representing 5.5 million square feet, and will receive significant renovations and improvements.

DCO Energy will work closely with representatives of the Jersey City school board, NJPBU and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs to oversee and accomplish the ESIP project for a brighter, sustainable future for students and educators in Jersey City.

Thanks to fantastic long-term facility improvements, 1,100 local well-paying careers will be available in the Jersey City area.

“Over my 30-plus years of industry experience, it has never been more exciting to see Jersey City Public Schools investing in a sustainable, greener future for students and staff,” Dennis Frohnapfel, acting business administrator of Jersey City Public Schools, said. “By partnering with DCO Energy and funding from American Rescue Plan, we will modernize the district’s facilities while reducing our energy and operational expenses. This is a win-win for everyone, but, most importantly, for the students of Jersey City.”

Also, the ESIP project will receive an additional allocation of $64 million in federal grant funding and capital reserve to help assist the development of exciting new sustainable improvements in the district. This is funding through the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund established under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. In 2021, the act was created during the pandemic to help assist schools safely reopen and operate sustainably.

The ESIP project will deliver new LED lighting, upgraded automation, renovated heating and cooling systems, water conservation and infrastructure improvements. These measures will help the district save money and reduce its carbon footprint. Eight schools in Jersey City will receive newly installed HVAC ventilation systems that decrease the schools’ energy use and deliver cutting-edge indoor air quality enhancements for students and teachers.

“This project is a testament to the sustainable and health safety priorities of Jersey City Public Schools,” Norma Fernandez, superintendent of Jersey City Public Schools, said. “We are committed to providing a green, safe and healthy learning environment for all students and staff. Installing new HVAC equipment and solar panels will significantly improve indoor air quality and reduce emissions, allowing the school district to redirect the funding into educational programs while improving the quality of classrooms for students.”

Jersey City Public Schools will experience the benefits of green energy thanks to installing new cutting-edge solar energy technologies. Thirty-one schools will have renewable solar generation of almost 11 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. All the new solar energy created in the school district will help improve the district’s overall energy portfolio. With this technological advance, its green footprint will advance and generate 42% of its power on-site via solar.

Over the next 20 years, the school district expects to save $88 million, thanks to the positive improvements to the energy ecosystem.

“This critical project will carve a path for a sustainable future for Jersey City Public Schools and set a shining example of what the future will look like as others add capital improvements,” Valerie Moran, senior vice president of DCO Energy, said. “The school district will save money on energy costs, reduce its carbon footprint, and create jobs in the community. Students and staff will benefit from improved indoor air quality and a brighter, more sustainable future.”

More information about the Competitive Edge collaboration can be found here.