Feb. 18, 2013
Lawrence County has been able to save almost 25% on its energy bill through a series of efforts so far
Lawrence County Schools is becoming a leader in energy management among area school systems and that leadership is enabling the school district to realize significant savings and greatly reduce energy consumption.
“Lawrence County has been able to save almost 25% on its energy bill through a series of efforts so far,” said Terry Salyer, an energy management expert who has worked with the district from the ground level over the last two plus years to change consumption habits and help retrofit and outfit buildings for a reduction in energy usage and cost.
“The easiest and most direct way is to change people’s pattern of behavior and we worked on that first through the implementation of the Juice Krew program, which put a student group in each school that worked on examining their building’s needs and usage patterns to identify changes and then implement them,” said Salyer.
The Krew’s efforts, combined with subsequent refittings of light fixtures and control mechanisms have paid off – to the tune of about $70,000 so far with projected savings mounting as throughout the school year.
“We are about helping save jobs, because when you reduce energy consumption and save money that way, then it means money can be used for other things, like preserving teachers’ jobs,” Salyer said.
Once the schools had gotten into good habits of turning lights off and other assorted choices aimed at reducing consumption, it was time to look at altering buildings where necessary to achieve further gains, according to Salyer.
That is when Lawrence County Schools partnered with Honeywell to change light fixtures, to improve buildings and make the commitment to expend funds in order to save more money in the future.
“We had gotten the low hanging fruit of changing behaviors and we had to then take further steps and because the school system made those choices, we are far ahead of what our savings goals were for this point in time, but we also can say Lawrence County is an example and leader in energy management in the area,” Salyer noted.
“We are able to take this example to other schools and hold it up and now they want to do it as well,” he said.
American Electric Power has an incentive program which results in rebates for customers who take dramatic steps to reduce consumption, and Lawrence County now qualifies as one of those customers and received the first installment of those rebate checks recently.
“Lawrence County has done a fantastic job of implementing programs to save energy,” said Mike Hurley of Kentucky Power. “I think they are doing a tremendous job in partnering with Honeywell and Honeywell is really helping them.”
Superintendent Mike Armstrong says it is the collaborative aspect that is so important to note in the effort to conserve energy and cut costs.
“Between AEP, our energy manager Mr. Salyer, the efforts of Honeywell and our students, all have done remarkable things to help us use less energy and utilize the savings to help further our goals of educating students,” Armstrong pointed out.