Energy Trust’s Eastern Oregon outreach manager, Caryn Appler, shared La Grande School District’s energy-efficiency report card with community members during a school board meeting in June.

Energy Trust’s Eastern Oregon outreach supervisor, Caryn Appler, shared La Grande School District’s energy-efficiency report card with group members throughout a faculty board assembly in June.

With every thing from outdated management techniques to inefficient home windows, two faculty districts in Eastern Oregon confronted some main challenges controlling energy prices and maintaining college students and workers snug. Working with Energy Trust of Oregon, La Grande School District and Umatilla School District made quite a lot of upgrades which have propelled them to the pinnacle of the category for energy efficiency, whereas vastly enhancing their environments for studying.

La Grande School District

Serving almost 2,400 Ok–12 college students, La Grande School District’s services embody three neighborhood elementary schools in addition to a center faculty and high faculty. The faculty buildings range in age, with development courting from the 1950s to as just lately as 2017.

From a services standpoint, La Grande School District’s major objective is system reliability—decreasing upkeep time and prices, maximizing energy efficiency and creating a cushty surroundings. The district’s services are a hub for group actions, making consolation and reliability much more necessary.

“Major breakdowns cost time and effort to fix, plus cause a loss of energy,” mentioned Joseph Waite, operations supervisor at La Grande School District. “A reliable system is our priority because it keeps us from losing money and fighting an uphill battle—there are only so many issues you can fix at one time.”

Between 2017 and 2019, La Grande School District put in quite a lot of gear, together with a gas-fired condensing boiler, constructing controls, a tankless water heater, pipe insulation and steam traps. Additionally, one of many oldest buildings obtained new ventilators with cooling and heating capabilities to assist school rooms preserve optimum temperatures.

The outcomes have been spectacular. The district is saving 12,000 kWh and 12,000 therms, which quantities to $9,800 in annual energy value financial savings.

Joseph was proud of the help he obtained from Energy Trust. “They can provide your district with cash incentives for a wide range of upgrades,” he mentioned. “Energy Trust doesn’t push you to make decisions, but are friendly and open about what your options are and the incentives you may be eligible for.”

Umatilla School District’s superintendent, Heidi Sipe, accepts a check from Energy Trust.

Umatilla School District’s superintendent, Heidi Sipe, accepts a examine from Energy Trust.

Umatilla School District

Umatilla School District has additionally been busy saving energy and cash. Their services embody three faculty buildings, together with district workplaces and a group heart. A 2016 bond project supplied funding for upgrades throughout the district, most of which have been accomplished in 2018.

Clara Brownell Middle School was constructed in 1947 and was totally unique till the 2018 enhancements. Upgrading the constructing’s aged infrastructure supplied an enormous alternative to extend energy efficiency. The district put in customized constructing controls, plus added new attic and wall insulation.

Umatilla High School was constructed in 1999, however its HVAC system was problematic from the beginning. “Since the building opened, we’ve struggled to maintain steady temperatures. It was cold in the winter and hot in the summer,” mentioned superintendent Heidi Sipe. Upgrading to direct digital controls has given services workers a lot better management over the college’s surroundings.

Additional energy-efficiency initiatives have included customized constructing controls for all three schools. McNary Heights Elementary School has additionally benefited from a brand new dishwasher, toilet and kitchen aerators and improved exterior and inside lighting.

“We’re always looking for ways to increase opportunities for learning,” mentioned Heidi. “Energy efficiency dovetails with this objective, helping to create a more comfortable school environment. And if funds can be freed up from energy expenditures and invested in learning, that’s a huge gain for students.”

Umatilla School District’s energy-efficiency efforts in 2018 and 2019 are already saving 235,000 kWh and 16,000 therms—$29,800 in annual energy value financial savings.

Just as thrilling is how college students are getting concerned in energy efficiency. The college students—in tandem with faculty district administration and upkeep workers—fashioned a Strategic Energy Management (SEM) workforce in 2019, which focuses on figuring out energy financial savings by way of no- or low-cost operations and upkeep enhancements. Using planning instruments and assets supplied by Energy Trust, the scholars work with upkeep workers to cut back energy use. Students are actively concerned in SEM actions throughout the elementary, center and high schools. A brand new technology is making their mark as true energy champions.

The future is vibrant—and energy-efficient

For each faculty districts, that is only the start. The cash they’re saving by way of elevated efficiency signifies that extra funds can be found to launch further enchancment initiatives sooner or later.

“Schools are more than just classrooms,” mentioned Joseph. “Our entire community uses our buildings for a whole range of activities. Energy Trust helped us accomplish more with the limited funds we had available. And that benefits everyone.”

Learn how Energy Trust’s incentives and assets will help improve your school’s facilities.

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