Energy savings mount up throughout school district

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 Taxpayers saved $493,611 on utility bills from January 2009 through February 2011 according to an energy consumption analysis conducted by Harshaw Trane Intelligent Services through its energy saving performance contract with Bullitt County Public Schools. This money has been redirected from energy purchases to educating Bullitt County children.


In 2008, the district entered into a $2 million performance contract with Harshaw Trane to upgrade building automation, lighting and heating/cooling systems in seven schools. The contract guaranteed that the cost of upgrades would be covered by savings generated. The improvements create an enhanced learning environment for no added cost to the district. In 2009, 17 additional buildings were added bringing the contract total to $11 million. Costs were still guaranteed to be covered by the savings generated over a 20 year period. The work is to be completed in three phases over the course of three years. 

Phase I included Freedom, Maryville, Mt. Washington Elementary, Bernheim, Bullitt Lick Middle and Bullitt East and North Bullitt High. Phase II included the Central Office, Lebanon Junction, Nichols, Pleasant Grove and Shepherdsville Elementary and Mt. Washington Middle. Phase III included Cedar Grove, Hebron, Riverview/Day Treatment, Bullitt Central High School and the Maintenance Office. 

Since the completion of Phase I and II, for the period of January 2009-February 2011, energy use has been reduced by a total of 30% in those facilities. Savings are evaluated by comparing the current energy consumption to what was used in 2006, 2007, 2008, the years just before the improvements were made. Electric consumption has been reduced by 7,188,001 kilowatt hours (kWh) and natural gas consumption by 74,897 hundred cubic feet (ccf). Cost for both electricity and natural gas decreased from $2,103,892 to $1,610,281 for a savings of $493,611. 

All schools lowered their energy use per square feet (kBtu/ft2) below the Energy Information Administration (EIA’s) industry average for schools in the area (based on a 12 month time period). The chart below shows each school’s benchmark (their energy use before the improvements) and their current use per square feet. 

For example, Bernheim Middle School’s baseline is 76 kBtu/ft2. For the 12 month period of March 2010 to February 2011, the actual energy usage was 44 kBtu/ft2. The industry average is 65 kBtu/ft.

Here are results from all phase I and II schools. The first figure is the benchmark; the second figure is the actual usage from March 2010-February 2011 (Benchmark - Actual Usage - Industry Average):


Bullitt East (65-52-65)

Bullitt Lick (68-41-65)

Freedom (72-43-65)

Maryville (56-39-65)

MWES (94-58-65)

North Bullitt (69-54-65)

MWMS (66-57-65)

Shepherdsville (56-47-65)

Lebanon Jct. (73-64-65)

Nichols (88-54-65)

Pleasant Grove (65-47-65)


Here is the amount each school saved in energy costs from January 2009 through February 2011:


Cost Savings (Phase I) January 2009-February 2011 (% Cost Savings of Baseline):

Bernheim $78,988 (35%)

Bullitt East $80,864 (19%)

Bullitt Lick $85,297 (40%)

Freedom $46,562 (23%)

Maryville $40,132 (28%)

MWES $84,078 (34%)

North Bullitt $32,472 (08%)

Cost Savings (Phase II) Sept, 2010-Feb. 2011:

MWMS $6,650 (11%)

Shepherdsville $8,671 (20%)

Lebanon Jct. $1,427 (04%)

Nichols $12,297 (37%)

Pleasant Grove $15,855 (29%)

Central Office $317 (02%)

District Total $493,611 (23%)

To put these savings into an environmental perspective, the electricity saved reduced carbon emissions by amounts equivalent to:

Passenger cars not driven for one year - 1,772.

Barrels of oil not burned for one year - 19,034.

Houses of electricity reduced for one year - 1,051.

Acres of forest preserved from deforestation for one year - 67.

As technology continued accelerating, there are more ways to monitor energy usage.

“We also have a great new tool called an Energy Dashboard,” Mrs. Rock said. “We can monitor our ‘real-time’ energy use in a graphical format. Schools can use this to easily monitor their energy use and can use it as a teaching tool.”

The Performance Contract has been a tool for the district’s already in place energy management program. Since the inception of the program, eight schools have earned the Energy Star award with Overdale Elementary the most recent to achieve that status.

Thanks to students and staff, energy consciousness is keen in the district.

Freedom Elementary School Custodian Richard Woolsey serves as the unofficial ‘light police’ switching off power in unoccupied classrooms. He also shuts down computers, monitors, and printers. He has stopped in at Freedom during weekends and switched off some closets lights left on.

Geothermal power and architecture with conservation measures in mind is helping many newer facilities save energy.

At the new Brooks Elementary School, Custodian Doug McCrary said several cost saving measures are in place such as motion sensor lights in classrooms and restrooms that turn off automatically.

He explained there is an automatic ‘lighting sweep shutdown’ every night at 11:00 p.m. Before he leaves at 3:30 p.m. he does his own sweep of areas such as the gymnasium and cafeteria.

Mr. McCary monitors cafeteria lighting and turns off lights as soon as possible after final lunch. Large windows allow ample sunlight which adequately lights the cafeteria.

Principal Cheri Lineweaver sends reminders to staff about turning off electrical appliances in classrooms.

Rock said one can install efficient lighting and equipment but if it’s not used properly, you’re not going to achieve your savings goals.

“That is why it is important to have staff such as Doug McCrary and Richard Woosley who do their part to make sure energy is being conserved in their school,” she said.