In an effort to optimize energy usage, while minimizing waste, the Sewanhaka Central High School District has contracted Cenergistic, an energy conservation company based in Dallas, TX, to create a plan for the district’s needs.
According to Superintendent Dr. Ralph Ferrie, the district’s goal is to realize energy savings during times when the district’s buildings are non-occupied and to then budget those savings for student programs.
Cenergistic Energy Specialist Stan Johnsen is charged with creating the plan and said a successful outcome hinges on changing the behavior of those who occupy the buildings. Johnsen has met with Board of Education members, administrators, faculty, custodial staff and school groups to discuss energy-conserving measures. He also works closely
with the district’s custodial staff and said they have been key to the process.
“I’ve had great cooperation from the head custodians, which is key because they oversee the day and evening staff,” Johnsen said. “The evening custodial staff in each building are probably the biggest savers of energy because they turn things off.”
Johnsen does weekly walkthroughs at each of the district’s buildings, visiting them at different times of day and night on varying days of the week. During this time, he enters each room in every building to determine if the building’s energy use is locked down.
“I make sure computers, monitors, copiers and any other equipment is shut down,” Johnsen said. “If I find something left on, I’ll tag it to let the person who uses it know it should be turned off at the end of the day.”
After his walkthroughs are complete, Johnsen creates a report card for administrators in each respective building, giving them an opportunity to look into the matter and rectify it rather quickly.
“People are really changing,” Johnsen said. “When I started I would find 120-130 computers left on in one day, now maybe I’ll find 20-30, some with varying reasons of why it was necessary to keep them on.”