Clinton Park Elementary School, which opened in 2008, and the soon-to-open Northside & Eastside Elementary School both incorporate Web-based heating and cooling controls, energy efficient lighting and other measures to cut utility costs.
CLINTON — With more than 4,600 students on nine campuses, the Clinton Public School District is a major energy user. But energy costs today are much less than they used to be, thanks to CPSD’s Energy Management Plan. “CPSD is doing its part to conserve energy where possible and with positive impact on classroom teaching,” said Maintenance Director Bo Barksdale. “We’re saving anywhere between 10 to 35 percent on utility cost since we implemented our plan.” The plan is detailed, and includes:
- District-wide scheduled preventive maintenance on all HVAC equipment
- Programmable thermostat controls for all HVAC equipment, including chiller units at Clinton High School, Clinton Junior High, Sumner Hill, Lovett and Northside
- Occupancy sensors for indoor lighting in selected areas (bathrooms, classrooms and athletic complex)
- Timers on outside lighting
- Inside lighting upgrades from T-12 to T-8 and T-5
- Selected roof replacements
- Web-based emergency management systems at Sumner Hill as part of 2011 renovation (Web-based EMS will be installed also at new Northside & Eastside campus)
- Future plans to install EMS systems at CHS, Clinton Park, Clinton Junior High and Lovett.
Some of the adjustments were small on their own, but when spread across the district have resulted in significant savings, Barksdale said. Tim Hardacre, who works with the districts heating and cooling units, said that within the past four years, the maintenance department has replaced five chiller units in the district. “Some were more than 25 years old,” he said.
The old chillers used manual thermostat systems but the new ones are programmable so that the units are not running at night, on weekends and when school is out. “We have over 500 separate heating and cooling units in the district,” he said. “Regular maintenance and thermostat controls make a big difference on this equipment.”
Another example of cost savings was the addition of insulation to the Eastside Elementary roof when the roof was replaced two years ago. The insulation, in combination with an unusually mild winter, has resulted in significant energy cost savings, said Vicki Brown, maintenance department administrative assistant. The maintenance department uses a preventive maintenance system that automatically generates work orders when filters need to be replaced, vehicles and equipment need maintenance and other things.
Curtis Brinson, who handles electrical work in the district, said motion sensors at athletic fields are another cost-cutting measure. “Before, there would be times when all the lights would be on even when no one was there,” he said.
Barksdale described lighting as “low-hanging fruit” in the district’s energy management plan. Even small changes in lighting can result in cost savings, he said. Brinson agreed, adding that 95 percent of outdoor lighting in the district is now on timers or photo cells. The old yellow lights outside Clinton High School have all been replaced with the more energy efficient metal halide bulbs.
Barksdale said when he first began as maintenance director, he conducted surveys of all facilities to measure energy efficiency. From the data he collected, he created the energy management plan that encompassed big and small ways the district could save money. “Even simple things add up, like replacing the old manual thermostats with electronic ones,” he said. “They’re about $50 each, and you save tons of money on utility costs.”
Hardacre said the district is moving to a Web-based energy management program to regulate heating and air conditioning so that entire buildings can be programmed to shut off at certain times and to maintain certain temperatures. “The new school will be on the energy management system,” he said. “They’ll be able to heat and cool in certain areas, and it won’t be all or nothing.”
Teachers are also helping with energy conservation, turning off lights in classrooms and turning off computers when they leave for the day. “We are partnering with them and they are working with us,” Barksdale said.