Energy program shows good results

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 10, 2004

By Dave Prescott, District 241 superintendent

Several months ago the School Board and Administration of the Albert Lea Area Schools took a proactive step in the good stewardship of energy and taxpayer dollars by embarking on a comprehensive energy conservation and management program.

Back in February of this year the school district hired Steve Lund to be our District Energy Manager and Educator and began working with Energy Education, Inc. a national energy conservation company that is working with school districts across the United States.

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In March we began tracking more closely our district-wide consumption of electricity, gas and water. We looked at our facilities and equipment for ways to save energy, but more importantly Mr. Lund started working with our staff and their energy use habits.

Our energy management goals are to: 1) maintain comfort in occupied areas, 2) minimize energy waste and 3) save dollars.

Our program focuses on the human factor in saving energy and actually factors out savings due to changes in equipment. The energy manager conducts

ongoing energy audits to ensure that students and teachers are comfortable during class time and scheduled activities, and that energy is used only as necessary.

He also tries to motivate everyone in the district to use energy wisely, keep classrooms comfortable, take advantage of day lighting and practice other smart energy strategies.

So how have we done the past six months since starting our energy conservation program?

Thanks to efforts of our staff, especially our custodians and building heads, we have saved more than $70,000 on utility costs. This is a direct savings to our general fund. This is the same fund that is used to pay for instructional supplies and staff. In other words, saving energy and reducing our utility costs impacts our students and the educational opportunities that we provide.

We are very happy with the progress made with our energy management program.

With the training support from Energy Education, Inc., Steve Lund’s continued motivational strategies and the focused efforts of our staff,

we think we can do even better the next six months. Saving energy and the smart use of our resources is a good thing for all of us.

(Dave Prescott is the superintendent of Albert Lea Schools.)