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September 2012 Premiere Edition
Welcome to the byDesign Newsletter!

We are proud to announce that BCK-IBI Group is launching byDesign, a periodic newsletter focused on topics important to K-12 school districts. Our firm values relationships, and an important part of any relationship is communication. You can look forward to receiving communications from us that are interesting, informative and most of all relevant and of value to you, byDesign. We want to hear from you too, so please send suggestions to

Energy Performance Contracting: A no-cost solution to common facility problems
If you ever face any of these challenges:

- Aging facilities
- Lack of upfront capital
- Shrinking budgets
- Increased energy use
- Smaller maintenance staff may want to consider an Energy Performance Contract.

Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) is an alternative means of financing building improvements with no cost impact to your school district. EPC programs are self funded through energy savings and are guaranteed in writing. The process is New York State Education Department (NYSED) approved and qualifies for NYS building aid as well as New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and utility grants. Most importantly, no voter referendum is required to implement the contract.

What types of projects can be completed with an Energy Performance Contract?
  • Lighting improvements
  • Boiler upgrades
  • HVAC system upgrades
  • Window replacement
  • Energy management systems
  • Domestic hot water improvements
  • Energy efficient motors
  • School bus heater replacement
  • Water conservation
  • Renewable energy
  • Energy awareness
You’ll follow a basic series of steps to implement an EPC at your district: Preliminary Energy Audit, Investment Grade Audit, Performance Contract, Engineering and Design, SED Review, and Construction. The New York State Association for Superintendents of School Buildings and Grounds (SBGA) has provided several tools on their website to assist you with the EPC process. Call us if you have any questions.
No vermiculite in your school - no problem. Vermiculite in your school - potentially BIG problem.

Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral that looks somewhat like mica and includes shiny, flat layers of material. When raw vermiculite is heated to a high temperature (exfoliated) it expands to many times its original volume. Processed vermiculite results in a lightweight material with insulating and other useful properties.

Building owners should be aware that vermiculite was commonly used in large quantities in masonry block cavities and attic spaces. It was also used as a garden soil amendment, lab packing material, fireproofing and as a component of lightweight concrete and plasters.

Vermiculite has most likely not been included in your district’s Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) Management Plan. Recent asbestos regulations in New York State, enacted by the NYS Department of Health and NYS Department of Labor, have changed the laboratory analysis requirements for certain building materials, particularly ceiling tiles and vermiculite.

Because of these new regulations, most ceiling tiles and vermiculite, even if previously identified as non-asbestos containing, must now be re-tested or assumed to contain asbestos. For additional information, the NYS Department of Heath issued an FAQ document regarding additional vermiculite guidance and testing requirements.

In light of the new regulations, handling of vermiculite must be performed by NYS Department of Labor (NYSDOL) licensed and certified personnel. All personnel must use engineering controls required by NYSDOL Industrial Code Rule 56. This could potentially increase expenses for the district. As always, BCK-IBI Group stands ready to provide consulting and engineering services for your district’s specific needs.


  Tel: (607) 772-0007

IBI Group is a multi-disciplinary consulting organization offering services in four areas of practice: Urban Land | Facilities | Transportation | Systems

Bearsch Compeau Knudson Architects & Engineers PC is affiliated with IBI Group.