Submitted by rukamau on January 9, 2012 - 9:35am
The Board and the administration of the School District of Black River Falls have a strong commitment to an effective energy management program. In fact, this past year, the Board of Education created an energy management policy (#734) in order for the District to minimize the impact energy cost increases will have on the budget, to maintain a reliable supply of energy to meet the functional needs of the District, and to ensure that energy is used efficiently. Each District employee is expected to actively participate in energy conservation efforts in order to reduce consumption, which in turn reduces costs.
The administrative rules that accompany the energy management policy identify the objectives and responsibilities of staff as related to the policy. It is the goal of the District to provide adequate comfort of students, staff, and other users of facilities; to model energy conservation practices to students and the community; to ensure acceptable indoor air quality in accordance with industry standards; and to eliminate energy waste. The guidelines in the administrative rule explain the set points that will be used for heating and air conditioning equipment, the best practices for caring for HVAC equipment, the expectations of turning off computers, office equipment, and lights when not in use, and the limits on the type and number of personal appliances that can be brought in to the schools by staff – all of which created an immediate savings to the District.
The District’s long-range capital maintenance plan includes many projects that will replace current equipment or fixtures and reduce energy costs. Mr. Joe Schmit, Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds, and Mrs. Jill Collins, Director of Business Services, review, discuss, and recommend the capital maintenance projects to the Board of Education each year for approval. A priority is placed on projects that can improve quality and/or efficiency and that have a quick payback in the form of reduced energy costs. Mr. Schmit is instrumental in researching projects that fit this priority.
Recently, he reviewed the energy usage cost of all of the outdoor lighting at the District’s facilities and compared it to the cost of retrofitting the lighting to that of LED fixtures. The savings of replacing the current lighting with LED lighting was impressive. For example, most of the current bulbs are either 1,000 W or 400 W metal halite bulbs. These bulbs would be changed to either 100 W or 70 W LED bulbs. Doing so would reduce energy consumption by over 65,000 Kw each year. Mr. Schmit estimates that upon completion of the retrofit to LED that the District would save nearly $90,000 over a 15 year time period. This figure takes in to account not only the savings from reduced energy consumption but also the cost of replacing all of the fixtures to LED. This project will be phased-in over the next five years.
In addition to developing the long-range capital maintenance plan and overseeing energy management for the District, Mr. Schmit also oversees the improvements and maintenance of the sites and the operations and cleaning of District facilities. In May 2010, Mr. Schmit completed the Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials (WASBO) Facilities Management Certification Program. The program was designed to provide facility managers with current knowledge and best practices as they seek to fulfill their responsibilities to provide safe and healthful environments for students and staff. The program is recognized by the State Superintendent of the Department of Public Instruction. Mr. Schmit also recently created the “School Pride” initiative that focuses on keeping District buildings looking their cleanest by sharing the responsibility with all of the users, teachers, coaches, students, etc.
Mr. Schmit and his department work hard to reduce costs and improve the facilities. If you have any questions regarding the District’s long-range capital maintenance plan or other energy/facility management initiatives, please contact Mr. Schmit at the District Office, 715-284-4357 (extension 1211).