Getting started on managing the energy budget is hard work and requires focus and dedication. So what is the payoff for all of the hark work?
To answer this question, SchoolDude.com studied 4 districts in Texas randomly selected. We added to this Killeen ISD because we knew that Darron Cole, the district’s energy manager had been working very hard to improve the district’s energy spending profile.
Some good folks at Texas ASBO (TASBO) enabled us with some data from all of those districts from the TASBO eFACTS system. The lessons learned from the tale of these 5 districts were striking.
We learned that the energy spending in Texas school districts rose from around $800M in 2003-2004 to over $1.3B in 2007-2008, a rise of 63%. Adjusting for student enrollment growth, the energy cost per student rose from around $200 to approximately $275 over that same time period or 38% growth – similar to the US trends.
While the amount of the total school district budget allocated to M&O was held about the same (10%), the energy budget rose rapidly within it creating compression on maintenance payroll, equipment and supplies, cleaning, and the general school budgets.
The five districts we studied, started at the exact same point in budget year 2005. That was where they were at that point. Their “stats” on cost per student or use per square foot might have been different but they all started where there were at that point in time. But, they all ended at a very different point. While many (most?) school districts did nothing, Darron Cole and Killeen ISD worked hard at it. Their results speak for themselves.
Starting from the same point in 2005, two districts arrived at approximately the average of most districts in Texas – a 38% - 40% increase. And two districts arrived at an approximately 58% increase. But, Darron’s district arrived at a point far below the average with only a 29% increase. By working very hard at energy management, Darron and his district were able to “bend the curve.”
Unfortunately, one of those districts whose costs rose almost 60% per student was a large urban district and the difference between the curve they were on vs. Killeen’s represented $10M per year in increased energy spending in 2008 alone. We believe this is fairly typical in many school districts in the US at least on a relative basis. Those districts ended up spending $60 - $100 more per student per year on energy bills having to reallocate limited resources from maintenance, capital projects, or educational priorities.
Darron has shared with the SchoolDude community his journey. It’s one of many steps including:
Improving control systems
Multiple energy retrofit projects
Motivating staff and teachers with information
Using software (UtilityDirect) to track and manage his progress including weather correlation and school by school comparison reports.
Starting their journey in 2002, and working against a benchmark of data from 2004, Darron and Killeen ISD have avoided around 46,607,459 Kwh and saved and average of $854,470.08 annually as a result of this work. Nice job!
Darron Cole is the Facilities Manager at Killeen ISD in Texas. Here is a snapshot of their district:
Killeen ISD, TX
Approximately 36,362 students
5.7 Millon Square Feet
$6.5 Million Annual Utility Budget
$854,470.08 Estimated Utility Savings
Usage Avoidance of More Than 46,607,459 KwH