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School district to address energy use at district facilities

By Staff | Oct 1, 2011

Lee County School District officials are hoping to hone 10 percent off the district’s energy costs, saving up to $21 million the first year.

The Energy and Natural Resource Consumption policy, which will be presented to the school board at the next board meeting, is intended to help facilitate an increased awareness and more efficient use of energy and other natural resources in the Lee County School District.

School Support Executive Director William Moore said the school support annex consists of a mission control room equipped with four large monitors that displays information and data from all the schools in the district. He said they can monitor the temperatures in every room at each school on the monitors.

“If we see red we know we have a problem,” Moore said. “Sometimes the problem can be fixed by a stroke of a key on a keyboard … some cases we need a technician to go there.”

The goal is to reduce costs, which can be done in three steps – educate personnel at all the facilities about energy conservation, identify simple behavioral spaces and share energy saving tips with schools, he said.

With the launch of the new energy consumption program, their goal is to reduce the energy and natural resource consumption by a minimum of 10 percent. Moore said that would reduce district electricity use by more than $21 million the first year.

“We feel this a very reasonable goal to meet, and we feel comfortable we can do this,” Moore said.

The district currently pays approximately $1.71 for electricity per square foot at each facility.

Another portion of the Energy and Natural Resource Consumption consists of guidelines for operating lighting equipment.

“Turn it off when it is not in use,” Moore said about lighting.

The proposed policy includes using natural light instead of artificial lighting as much as possible, along with lights being turned off once teachers and students leave a classroom, even if it is for a short period.

Other guidelines include turning off lights in gymnasiums, multi-purpose rooms and cafeterias when not in use for 15 minutes, along with making sure all lights are turned off outside during daylight hours and set on a timer for 30 minutes after occupants leave for the evening and back on 30 minutes before they arrive the next day.

Guidelines for operation of heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems also are a part of the policy.

Moore said all of the facilities are set at 76 degrees, plus or minus of 2 degrees. The low temperature, he said would be 74 degrees and the high would be 78 degrees.