Facing budget cuts and potential teacher layoffs, schools are starting to look for new ways to cut costs— like partnerships with Energy Education. For nine years, Texas’ Taylor Independent School District (TISD) has worked with Energy Ed to help decrease rising energy costs, saving more than $2 million, according to the district’s energy manager, Mike Janak.
“Energy Education has been around for more than 25 years and has helped numerous school districts and businesses with their energy savings,” Janak said in an interview with Taylor Daily Press. “About nine years ago, they approached the school board about signing a four-year contract with them, promising a projected savings of $100,000 a year.”
Janak continued to say that the district has exceeded its yearly projected savings every year by simply changing people’s habits—de-lamping vending machines when they are not in use, turning heating units off during the nights, weekends, holidays and summers, and cutting back on air conditioning.
TISD is now ranked in the top five among Energy Education’s 65 Texas school districts, just behind Henderson, Montgomery, Canton and Van school districts, at 35 percent in cost avoiding figures.
The Ocean Springs School District in Maryland is on schedule to open a new high school in May 2012—meaning they’re also on schedule to get slapped with a huge bill. In preparation, the district teamed up with Energy Education to cut its utility costs by conserving energy.
The new building, which is costing the district $60 million, will allow for much-needed room in existing schools. Superintendent Robert Hirsch said students will finally be moved out of trailers, and that the existing high school will be converted to an upper elementary school for grades fourth, fifth and sixth, so that the current elementary school will be less crowded.
Energy Education began working with the Ocean Springs School District one year ago, and has since shut down all non-vital electrical equipment in unoccupied areas, such as air conditioners, lights, computers and copy machines.
Hirsch told the Mississippi Press, “We also have holiday shutdowns and summer shutdowns. That’s when we really collect the savings. It’s been incredibly productive, so we’re very happy with the program. “
Thanks to its partnership with Energy Education, the Fallbrook Union High School District saved $70,635 during its first five months working with the company. The board of trustees approved the program in late April of last year, and since then Energy Education specialist Darin Vey has been working to ensure the district’s energy and water savings.
The savings have two key benefits. The most obvious is that the schools are becoming more environmentally sensitive, but the cut in costs also allows the schools to redistribute the funds that were previously spent on energy and water. The schools in the Fallbrook district now have more flexibility in their budgets and can use the savings for other areas of need—teachers’ salaries, supplies, computers, etc.
The cost of the Energy Education program came from the district’s existing utility budget, and the savings are guaranteed to more than pay for the program. The conservation program is sustainable for years, and the company will continue to support the school district even after its paid contract ends. Fallbrook is paving the way for other schools in California—and the rest of the country—to implement energy plans in a similar fashion and save money along the way.