Recent Accomplishments

SFG found that a school was mistakenly classified as “open plan” on its life safety survey and saved hundreds of thousands of dollars

SFG reviewed problems with life safety compliance work for a large suburban high school. The life safety survey had classified the school as “open plan”. As a result, the architectural firm which did the survey called for construction of firewalls because they concluded that building square footage was greater than what was allowable. SFG found a crucial error in the life safety survey. The requirement for building firewalls did not apply. The district avoided spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for construction. SFG completed the required state forms and certified compliance with the life safety code.

A performance contracting company held to unfulfilled guaranties

A large national performance contracting firm completed a multimillion dollar project for a small suburban school district. In 2011, three years later, SFG uncovered many unexpected and serious problems in the school, despite the millions spent on upgrades. Our investigations found that in addition to the lack of promised, “guaranteed” energy savings, the work was either incomplete, did not work properly, or needed premature repairs. After we documented the problems and met with all of the parties, the company voluntarily returned to address the issues we identified, at no cost to the district.

Solving a drinking water contamination problem

Arsenic was found in a school’s drinking water, and the performance contracting company installed a filtration system to remove the dangerous contaminant. Testing indicated that the system failed to make the water safe to drink. As a result of SFG’s efforts, the company voluntarily returned to enlarge and re-build the system, at no cost to the district.

Reducing the cost of custodial cleaning

SFG reviewed and negotiated a three year custodial cleaning contract for a suburban school district, which improved the quality, and reduced the cost. How did we do this? We eliminated excessive floor stripping, improved the wax quality, added burnishing and carpet extraction to neglected areas. Along the way, SFG learned that the contractor had wanted to make improvements for years but believed there was “no one to talk to who understood custodial practices well enough”.

Providing low- and no-cost solutions for
energy saving

SFG performed an energy audit for a medium-size suburban K-8 school district. We benchmarked the district’s performance using Energy Star Portfolio Manager, then recommended ways to save money and improve performance. The focus was on low-cost and no-cost operational changes, such as better equipment scheduling and turning lights off whenever possible. These and other simple solutions will result in an almost-30% energy savings. SFG has obtained $58,000 in energy grants and other free energy conservation services on behalf of the district.

Reducing the cost of waste hauling and recycling

SFG identified ways that a district’s waste hauling contract costs could be cut in half, from $18,000 to $9,000 per year, with no reduction in quality. Recycling was increased.

Correcting errors in utility bills

SFG conducted a detailed review of a school district’s natural gas and electricity bills for the preceding year. SFG found billing errors that resulted in the district receiving a rebate of almost $5,000.

Taking advantage of energy grants

Because of lack of time or expertise, some districts do not apply for grants that can significantly reduce the cost of new energy-efficient equipment. SFG has applied for almost $300,000 in state grants on behalf of school districts. SFG can make sure you don’t miss out on the funding and energy-efficiency opportunities other districts are taking advantage of. One of our districts is receiving $58,000 in energy grants from the state this year.

Eliminating underground water piping

A rural school with a well water system experienced several underground water line ruptures, which resulted in shutdown of the system. SFG and its associates found a way to eliminate almost 1,000 feet of underground piping and bring the system up to code. The district has been able to entirely abandon the old underground pressurized piping and eliminate the risk and cost to repair underground water leaks.