According to Sanders, rising energy costs place considerable pressure on the district's finances.
"Between heating, gas and electric, it certainly does represent a significant amount in the budget," said Sanders. "We had been looking for a program to conserve and control energy costs in light of rising prices."
A key feature of the EEI program is the concept of energy savings through cost avoidance " the idea that through education, training and monitoring, all members of the school community can make minor changes that yield major results.
Minor changes include turning off classroom lights, shutting down computers and printers and turning down the heat in buildings while not in use. With the development of the program, the board of education appointed Farnsworth Middle School math teacher Fred Tresselt as the district's energy manager.
As energy manager, Tresselt's responsibilities include monitoring the energy program. Tresselt collects and interprets data, provides feedback to staff and encourages the school community to take a proactive stance when it comes to conserving energy.
Guilderland's four-year agreement with EEI guarantees that the avoided energy costs will at least offset all program costs, and additional savings would be used to lower budget costs.
Sanders said program costs include the annual $125,000 price tag to participate in the program, the energy manager's salary, training seminars and software.
By using energy-accounting software, Tresselt can track consumption and analyze energy use and can quickly identify and correct areas that need immediate attention.
"The cooperative efforts of the entire Guilderland community " from custodial and maintenance personnel to educational staff at all levels " have made for a very successful endeavor," said Tresselt.
Tresselt said he is also encouraged to see everyone understand and appreciate how energy could be conserved and money saved.
"The success of the program rests heavily with the work performed by Mr. Tresselt," said Aidala. "His ability to mobilize staff behind this initiative has been nothing short of amazing."
EEI has worked with more than 790 school districts across the nation and has helped school districts save more than $1 billion in 20 years.""