A group of employees representing a broad cross-section of the San Juan Unified School District is developing an energy conservation program with the goal of reducing cumbersome costs to the district while keeping students and staff members comfortable, and your help is needed.
This summer, the district’s contract with Cenergistics (formerly Energy Education) will expire. However, a working group facilitated by David Burke, director of planning and property management, is continuing the critical work of energy conservation in the district.
The group’s goal is to create guidelines for conserving energy that would be presented to district leadership in the fall.
More importantly, though, the goal is to save money spent on energy costs that could otherwise be used to support teaching and learning in our district. Group members also seek to protect our natural resources, and educate our students about the value of energy conservation.
The efforts complement those by the district to save water during our historic drought.
“As an educational institution, we should set the example for our students about the importance of sustainable practices,” Burke said. “Saving money is beneficial for our students, but preserving our natural resources is important as well.”
Utilities are a huge cost to San Juan Unified. In the 2014-15 school year, the district was expected to spend $6.6 million on utilities – one-third of the unrestricted general fund budget that does not pay for salaries and benefits.
Electricity makes up the biggest portion of those costs at 63 percent.
Recognizing the importance of energy savings, the district hired Cenergistics in 2010. The partnership was successful: With the firm’s help, the district saw a 25 percent decrease in energy usage from 2009 levels, amounting to $6 million in cost savings.
However, district officials hope to build on the foundation built by Cenergistics to achieve savings in a more cost-effective manner. The need for savings is expected to grow, particularly as California’s severe drought limits access to hydroelectric power and drives up electricity costs.
The working group began meeting in April and will continue to meet until members draft guidelines and recommendations. Recognizing the varied conditions of our facilities and comfort levels of our employees and students, members seek to establish guidelines that are reasonable yet flexible.
We need your help. Please let us know what suggestions you have for saving energy within the district or questions you’d like answered. In the coming months, we will update this page with answers to your questions and other useful information about our growing energy program.
In the meantime, here are a few useful tips you can act on today to help San Juan Unified save energy:
- Don’t run heat or air conditioning in unoccupied rooms.
- Don’t leave windows or doors open when the heat or air conditioning is running.
- Open windows and doors in lieu of heat or air conditioning.
- Turn the lights off in unoccupied spaces.
- Get rid of your personal refrigerator, or replace it with an Energy Star appliance.