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Energy program saves BOE more than $500,000

POSTED: March 16, 2009 2:07 p.m.
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Eric Harris, energy manager, checks the settings on a thermostat at the BOE's central office.

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Since February 2008, the Effingham County Board of Education has avoided spending $576,130 thanks to its newly implemented Energy Education Program and the cooperation of employees and students.

According to Eric Harris, the BOE’s energy manager, the largest savings have been generated by keeping control of the air conditioners in the schools and other facilities.

“This facet of the energy program is focused on student comfort as its primary focus,” explained Harris. “However, when students leave for the day, the building should go to an unoccupied state as soon as possible for as long as possible.”

The BOE signed a four-year contract with Energy Education Incorporated and, in the past year, has fully implemented the company’s management plan. This plan involves the use of a powerful software tool to monitor and compare the school system’s use of electricity, natural gas and water.

In addition to the savings the school system has realized, they have also cut CO2 emissions by 4,217 metric tons. According to Harris, this is equivalent to taking 757 cars off the road for one year or growing 107,852 trees for 10 years.

Teachers and other BOE employees are responsible for shutting down their classrooms and/or offices each day. They are expected to turn off air conditioners, computers, monitors, printers and other electrical devices. Some individuals are put in charge of monitoring water usage for facility irrigation purposes.

The older facilities prove to be the most challenging while the newer facilities have more efficient equipment, stated Harris, who also explained that the goal of the BOE’s energy management program is to promote good stewardship of the school system’s resources through positive results.

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