The School System’s Energy Management Program continues to earn recognition from national and state agencies for reducing energy usage.
Dr. John Swang, director of the program, reported this month that the School System had reduced its energy usage by more than 20 percent, leading to an energy cost avoidance of $5,375,487 over the past five years, and earning additional accolades from the U.S. Environment Protection Agency. The latest is called the “Leaders 20% Improvement” designation.
“We’ve had a very successful year,” Dr. Swang said. The School System received three national awards in the past year, the “Energy Milestone Award” from SEE (Schools for Energy Efficiency), an Energy Star-Leader Certificate from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and an Energy Star Label for the Instructional Technology Center in Mandeville.
In the first year of the effort, the School System saved seven percent on its energy usage. In 2008, that went to 15 percent, then to 19 percent in 2009, and wound up at 20 percent this year.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s distinguished ENERGY STAR Label went to the Tech Center for the School System’s efforts to protect the environment through superior energy performance. The Tech Center was the first school district facility in the State of Louisiana to receive the designation, Dr. Swang stated.
Gayle Sloan, Schools Superintendent, said, “We are committed to creating an energy efficient environment. Through this project we have lowered our overall energy costs and this benefits our entire School System.”
The EPA awarded the School System the Energy Star-Leader Award for its leadership in improving its average energy performance rating and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through superior energy management. “We were the first School District in the State of Louisiana to receive this honor, and one of only 42 school districts in the entire nation so designated,” Dr. Swang reported.
In 2008, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources awarded the School Board its Environmental Stewardship Award, in recognition of outstanding leadership in adopting and implementing energy efficiency measures. The award certificate states that students and faculty will enjoy the benefits of the School Board’s fiscally-prudent and environmentally beneficial energy management practices in protecting the environment, managing natural resources and benefitting the community.
Dr. Swang commended the students, teachers and staff throughout the parish for changing behavior patterns and taking part in the effort to turn off unneeded lights, switching off computers and monitors when not in use, and overall thermostat monitoring to save energy.
The St. Tammany Parish School Board implemented its Energy Management Program in December 2005, emphasizing energy-saving strategies that sought to raise awareness through employee training. In addition to asking staff and students to turn off electrical equipment when not in use, the School System also optimized the maintenance of all electrical equipment to ensure efficient performance. Savings are expected to increase as more schools have NOVAR control systems installed.
An energy conservation website was launched last year by the department, offering a variety of information on how to save money through energy management, changes in routine behavior, and appropriate technology. The program also helped schools save thousands of dollars by monitoring energy charges for possible errors in utility billing.
Each school is provided with a “customized energy management plan” which suggests improvements based on specific site characteristics.
In November of 2008, The Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) honored Deputy Superintendent Trey Folse with a Capital One Bank Keller Award for Innovation, which recognizes persons who have used innovative solutions to solve pressing problems. Superintendent Gayle Sloan commented that Mr. Folse had provided strong vision and leadership in developing the energy conservation program.