Paul Gutowsky is the Building and Grounds Director at Lamar Consolidated Independent School District in Houston, Texas. To help manage and get a better understanding of Lamar's after hour facility use and the impact it has on their energy usage, Paul has been working on implementing our facility scheduling software, FSDirect. Lamar CISD is located southwest of Houston and has an enrollment of 24,600 students. To accommodate after hour facility use events Paul estimates the district incurs around $65 an hour in HVAC costs. To help cut down on some of those energy costs, the district has started an “Energy Day”, also known as “Shutdown Day”, at each of their 46 locations.
What is a Shutdown Day?
At the beginning of the year each of the district’s location’s choose one day of the week to be their Shutdown Day. On their Shutdown Day, there are no extracurricular activities at that location. This means that the HVAC units will only run from 5:30 AM to 6:00 PM saving that location 4 or more hours of HVAC energy costs. In the three years since executing Shutdown Days, the district has really reaped the benefits by saving about $260 a week, $1,040 a month, for one building. Spread those savings district wide, across all 46 locations, and Lamar can expect a savings of nearly $48,000 a month!
How is this done?
To help administer the policy, and ensure no events get scheduled on those designated days, Paul uses FSDirect to manage each location’s Shutdown Day. To do that, he creates a recurring schedule for each location on the day of the week they have chosen for their Shutdown Day. The schedule is set for 6:00 PM to 12:00 AM on that day, so if a user requests an event for that time, conflict notices will be triggered. Most schools choose Wednesday, as it does not interfere with as many extracurricular events as other days.
Paul wanted to find the best way to keep an accurate count of their after-hours event impact, and didn’t want those Shutdown Day schedules to count toward his total event hours. To work around this concern, Paul will associate each Shutdown Day to a generic Organization titled “Shutdown Day” in FSDirect. This way, when running reports and calculating totals, he can exclude all events associated to that Organization to get an accurate count. A benefit of categorizing his Shutdown Days by Organization allows him to report on those specific days to see how many Shutdown Days and hours have been scheduled in a particular time frame for a particular location.
This is a great example and a practical approach to cut down energy costs using facility scheduling. If your institution is looking for areas to save on energy costs consider an option similar to Lamar Consolidated Independent School District and use your SchoolDude solution to implement, manage, and track the progress you see. If your district has taken on another approach to energy conservation through facility use, let us know, we would love to hear of other programs that have been successful.