School District Finds Teamwork Leads to Energy Savings

There's an incredible example of teamwork going on in Warren County Public Schools that have enabled them to save more than $866,000 this performance year, and surpassing their yearly goal by more than $283,000. It started by partnering with a company called Energy Education Inc., a Texas based consulting group back in December 2003, and has led to a resulting total of $2.3 million in savings to date. According to one school administrator, the company "provided methods... to help us educate our faculty and staff on specific behaviors that can waste energy". And while they did do some things like incorporate a very high efficiency boiler into certain schools to cut down on energy usage, often the little things that add up are seemingly so small that their cumulative effect can be easily overlooked during a busy school year in any district. This district helped solve all that by appointing an energy manager, Jay Wilson, whose duties included walking through school buildings once a week at various times like weekends, nights and especially during the day to hunt down opportunities to save energy and identify behaviors that needed to be changed. One simple example would be if someone leaves a light on in a vacant room; they probably didn't even think about it before he pointed it out but it adds up as more people become cognizant of the need to shut down the lights. He also tracks the districts utility bills to look at consumption, and then compares past bills to look for "red flags" that may indicate a gas leak or misread meter. And he obviously hasn't done it alone because as he said about the process, "It's been very beneficial, and I'd like to give the credit to the faculty and staff, from the principals in the buildings down to the custodians in the buildings down to the maintenance folks," he said. "They've all worked diligently to do what we've ask them to do, and that's what made the program a success." Now if one district can pull this off, I'm betting that yours can too... And that's a great way to help protect the environment and help ease the school tax burden on local residents at the same time.

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