JSD celebrates energy savings

As the nation celebrates Energy Awareness Month this October, Juneau schools are having a celebration of their own — to mark more than $2 million in savings from conserving energy.

The $2,063,000 savings is equal to 28.28 percent of what energy costs would have been without the help of an innovative program the district started in 2007.

The cost-saving program is implemented through a partnership with Energy Education, the nation’s leading organizational behavior-based conservation company whose Transformational Energy Management process has saved more than $2.5 billion for educational and complex organizations.

“It is particularly appropriate to celebrate our savings this month,” said Adrianne Schwartz, Juneau School District energy education specialist, “Energy Awareness Month is all about teaching people to make good decisions about the energy they use, and that’s what our program does: today, every person on our staff uses energy as needed and is careful to never waste energy. By implementing best practices for energy use throughout our system, we create savings, enhance the learning environment and retain dollars for education — it’s the right thing to do.”

Schwartz tracks energy consumption — including electricity, water, sewer, and fuel oil — using energy accounting software from EnergyCAP, Inc. She compares current energy use to a baseline period and calculates the amount of energy that would have been used had conservation and management practices not been implemented. By tracking consumption and analyzing energy use, she can quickly identify and help correct areas that need immediate attention.

Energy Education’s Transformational Energy Management process trains personnel to implement behavioral and organizational change that substantially reduces energy consumption without the purchase of new equipment. The program is funded by the savings it generates, allowing clients to redirect saved energy dollars to other priorities. The program provides the district with a customized, sustainable energy conservation program. Although Energy Education is no longer on contract with the school district, the program that has been established continues to generate results and the company continues to offer free support.

Energy Education earned the 2011 Award for Sustained Excellence and was named 2009 and 2010 Energy Star Partner of the Year by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

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