Which Side of the Bell Curve Is Your School District Energy Management Program On? Leaders and Laggards in Sustainability

By Luis Pajares  
EVP, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer

Implementing a school district energy management program is one of the most complex tasks imaginable, and school administrators will likely face challenges and opportunities during implementation. Failure to recognize opportunities will result in less-positive results, but understanding key opportunities by leveraging technology to enhance energy efficiency will lead to gaining "Leader" status in sustainability. Superintendents that want to ensure maximum return on investment in a school energy management program need to understand a few things about why laggards exist, how it increases sustainability, and a few best practices to achieve "Leader" status.


Why Laggards Still Exist

One of the most significant problems with implementing a school district energy management program lies in the inability to recognize when result have a meaningful impact. Implementing an in-house program or a do-it-yourself program will likely revolve around simply reviewing utility bills. This makes it almost impossible to track actual energy use and effect of changes in energy use behaviors. Furthermore, a few additional factors will contribute to the poor performance of the school district energy management program, resulting in a “laggard” status. These include:

  • Poor visibility into energy use.

  • Increased regulatory pressure to reduce energy use.

  • Environmentally responsible schools reap significant benefits.

An Effective School District Energy Management Program Will Increase Sustainability.

An effective school district energy management program should increase the sustainability and energy efficiency of the school and its surrounding community. Superintendents should have real-time visibility into energy use, and that visibility must be on an asset-level. In other words, knowing the overall energy consumption costs were facility is excellent, but understanding the exact assets and factors contributing to each kilowatt-hour of energy use will significantly enhance the program's results. As a result, schools can shift their position on the bell curve toward "leader" status.

Of course, it helps to understand a few qualities of organizations and schools that fall into this group. As explained by Jonathan Bardeline of GreenBiz, leaders in energy management:

  • Use real-time and historical data.

  • Standardized processes to prevent energy anomalies.

  • Leverage metrics for benchmarking.

Best Practices to Reaching “Leader” Status

Any school district energy management program that wants to achieve “leader” date should follow a few best practices to ensure success and maximum results, explains the Harvard Business Review, including:

  1. Recommission facility assets. Recommissioning of facility assets doesn't necessarily mean upgrades, but it does involve an understanding of facility assets in greater detail including manufacturing date, serial numbers, component review, energy audits and more.

  2. Communicate with the school board and superintendent. Communicating with the school board and superintendent will be crucial to Facility Managers seeking to maintain support for school district energy management program.

  3. Conduct recurring facility energy audits and energy inspections. Recurring, frequent facility energy audits and inspections go a long way in reducing energy use by helping everyone understands the factors affecting energy use and where energy drains or leaks may exist.

  4. Make top-down cultural changes to energy use behaviors. Creating a culture of acceptance of energy efficiency will require a top-down approach to effective energy management. In other words, school leaders and staff should make energy-efficiency changes to their behavior, which will model behavior for students, resulting in even more significant gains and school-wide support for an energy management program.

  5. Measure energy use. Measuring energy use is another critical factor in an effective program. School Facility Managers that do not understand where energy use exists cannot successfully affect it.

  6. Recognize the value of energy cost avoidance. Energy cost avoidance is an excellent value of the school district energy management program. Cost avoidance is the result of improved maintenance, increased asset longevity, reduce the use of energy, lower utility bills and indirect savings resulting from changes in behaviors among students and staff.

  7. Reinvest in energy management and the classroom. Energy cost avoidance savings can be reinvested in energy management and the class, regardless of the need, effectively expanding the school budget without increasing funding from appropriate sources.

Reap the Greatest Gains by Working With Cenergistic in Your School District Energy Management Program

Creating a sustainable school district energy management program can be complicated, but it is not impossible. Superintendents and school boards that recognize the importance of energy efficiency in schools can position their districts to be energy management leaders. Tap into the value of school district energy management by choosing Cenergistic as your partner. Kickstart your energy management strategy by calling 1-855-798-7779 or completing the online contact form today.

 
Luis Pajares

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