District Administration magazine recently reported on nine tips and tricks from district leaders and energy experts for controlling energy costs. SchoolDude Client Clarkston Community Schools (MI) was profiled regarding their successful strategy to establish teams to ensure buy-in. Here is an excerpt from the article:
When Clarkston Community Schools in Michigan was met with the self-imposed challenge of saving $250,000 on energy costs in 2005, an energy committee consisting of board of education representatives, district administrators, food service team members, custodians, teachers, and students was formed to figure out the best ways to cut costs.
“We wanted there to be a dialogue about how we would reduce our energy spend,” says Jessica Kimmel, manager of facilities and energy at Clarkson schools. “We didn’t want just top-level people making decisions that would be affecting everyone in the district.” The energy committee met frequently and established policies around HVAC temperature setpoints.
“Before, we had been bringing the school up to temperature five hours before school began,” Kimmel says. “Through committee negotiations, we changed that to one hour before the start of the school day. Those who would be directly affected by the temperature of the building had their voices heard.” Temperatures are set between 68-72 degrees in the winter, and there is a 5 percent energy savings per degree lowered, according to Kimmel. Committee meetings served as a forum for compromise. Teachers, for example, gave up personal coffee pots and toasters in the classrooms in exchange for large models in staff lounges.
Another SchoolDude Client, Lisa Randall from Santa Fe Public Schools in New Mexico, captures the challenge most institutions are in when she said “The district didn’t want to cut back on 86% of the budget for teachers’ salaries. So in looking into what we could focus on to conserve without hurting classrooms, utilities was an easy choice.”
Lisa's hard work led to $389,473.15 saved on utility costs in 2 years, including a conservation plan that has led to a 17.5% reduction in natural gas consumption, as well as a 9.7% reduction in electrical demand, and 12.7% less water used.
Our Clients frequently tell us that no one can control the cost of energy, but we can monitor and manage consumption, which has a direct impact on the budget spent. Other great tips to monitor consumption and conserve energy include combining utility tracking with:
1) Corrective maintenance plans can help identify your high energy usage buildings and create work orders to investigate mechanical issues that might cause these problems.
2) Implementing a good PM program to track the impact on your energy costs.
3) Capital and planned maintenance can highlight low performing buildings from an energy usage stand point and target them for future enhancements
4) Facility scheduling processes can enhance your energy initiatives by tracking energy costs and usage for your high use/event buildings
To read the entire District Administration article, please click here.
To learn more about the Energy & Conservation success story at Santa Fe Public Schools, read Lisa's story here.