ROTTERDAM One school district proved focusing on energy efficiency can result in significant savings.
Over 36 months, Schalmont schools achieved a 32 percent cost avoidance totaling over $795,000 since contracting with Energy Education, which is a national energy conservation company. District officials were presented with the company’s Energy Pacesetter Award during the Board of Education meeting on Monday, Nov. 14.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to be saving money on energy expenses despite rising fuel costs and an economic downturn,” said Superintendent Valerie Kelsey in a statement. “This is the result of people changing the way they use energy in our district, so the savings may be redirected to other needs.”
The award recognizes organizations “setting the pace” in energy savings. Only programs achieving above-average savings are considered for the award. The program was started to help change habits and increase awareness amongst faculty, staff and students about the importance of energy efficiency.
“Reaching this level of savings at this stage of the program is a significant achievement,” said founder of Energy Education William Spears. “Schalmont has done an excellent job of implementing Energy Education’s organizational behavior-based approach to energy conservation and maintaining productive efforts at all levels of the organization.”
The district’s energy specialist, Terri McCreadie, was cited by school officials for being instrumental in the program’s success by reminding staff to turn off classroom lights, close window blinds and shut down computers, printers, document cameras, projectors, power strips and other peripherals at the end of the day.
“It’s not as easy as it seems to change old habits and it has certainly been an adjustment for our faculty and staff,” said Kelsey in a statement. “It’s an ongoing process.”
McCreadie regularly tracks energy consumption, including electricity, water, sewer, natural gas and fuel oil, using energy-accounting software. By tracking consumption and analyzing energy use, she can identify and correct areas needing immediate attention.
District officials said energy costs have been successfully reduced through daily evaluation of energy needs and the implementation of energy efficient cooling and heating schedules and shutdown schedules for weekends and holidays.
Also, the Bond 2007 capital project has replaced 52-year-old single pane windows, steam boilers and heating and ventilation systems with more efficient models, according to the district.