“You start small and end up big.” This is Dan Caley’s mantra for introducing an energy management program to an educational organization. He knows a thing or two about managing energy. In the past 5 years since the former parole officer turned energy expert started at Rogers Public Schools in Rogers, Arkansas, they have achieved a savings of around $700,000 on actual utility expenditures. “That’s not cost avoidance, that is dollar for dollar we are down. We are down 30% of our energy use.” UtilityDirect has been a robust tool that has helped Dan promote and fund district wide projects, including a $2.2 million lighting project, that have helped achieve the savings he outlined.
Getting there has been an adventure and an ongoing challenge. Dan did not start with people, but by focusing on when their buildings were unoccupied and worked to maximize the savings from that standpoint. “This really helped me sell it to the school board and explain what we were able to do. Now let’s work on the staff.”
He started with the Elementary Education staff and worked up from there. “I identified the leaders in the district that were going to be the most receptive to it and I started with the elementary school classrooms.” Once Dan got monthly reports out to the principals, the competition grew from there and so did the savings. Pretty soon he had the entire district working as a whole to be good stewards of energy usage.
When Dan implemented the plan, he had buy-in from his Business Manager and Superintendent, as long as it didn't affect people. But it has affected Rogers Public Schools as a whole and 5 years later, the results are obvious. For anyone starting an energy management program he has some good advice. “Don’t struggle writing an energy management policy, they’re out there. It’s not new. We have been saving energy since we were kids, now it’s just time for us to do it. We do it at home and we can do it in our schools too.”
Paul Fletcher is a Senior Client Success Advocate on the SchoolDude Success Operations team. Paul provides world-class support and works closely with our clients to ensure their success, anticipate challenges our clients face, and deliver practical solutions to overcome them.