Ohio School Gains Updated Cooling and Lighting — and Functional Atomic Clock

An Ohio school district tackled its outdated energy systems with the help of an energy service company and regained a functioning atomic clock in the process. Howland Local Schools worked with Plug Smart to implement new air conditioning and LED lighting.

Along with those infrastructure updates, the district launched a capital campus campaign to raise funds and make the community aware of the district's aging facilities. As part of that initiative, the schools ran a contest asking students to give their best guesses about "What made the clock stop?" The clock, which resides in the tower of the high school, ceased functioning many decades ago. Suggestions from the students included lightning strikes, the arrival of aliens, global warming and a solar eclipse.

In addition to dealing with the broken clock, the district was in urgent need of modernized cooling systems and more energy efficient lighting. Plug Smart structured a replacement program for the air conditioning units in the high school, middle school and three elementary schools, along with installation of more energy-efficient lighting that's expected to cut the district's electric bill by 53 percent, offsetting its own cost in under 10 years, according to the company.

Plug Smart also tapped its own community service funds to fix the clock. That part of the work was jobbed out to a regional specialty firm, which used as many of the legacy parts as possible in the repair.

"While Howland may never know why the clock stopped working, we'll always remember why it started again: This team banded together and addressed these problems without putting the burden on the taxpayers," said Superintendent, Kevin Spicher, in a statement. "Not only will Plug Smart's energy efficiency project installations help us to create a more comfortable learning environment for our students, but they will also aid us in reducing our ongoing energy costs and carbon footprint."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.