FWCS Saves More Than $862K With Energy Savings Program

By Emma Koch - 21Alive

Fort Wayne Community Schools

November 12, 2013 Updated Nov 12, 2013 at 12:45 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- In the first year of its energy savings program, Fort Wayne Community Schools has saved $862,333. FWCS began the Energy Leadership program in the spring of 2012 and surpassed its original annual savings goal of $590,000 as stipulated in the contract with Performance Services, an engineering company that specializes in energy efficiency.

In addition to the cost savings, three schools – Lakeside Middle School, Northrop High School and South Side High School – have been recognized by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as Energy Star Schools because of their outstanding energy performance. Less than 10 percent of the schools in Indiana have received this designation. The schools were recognized by the Board of School Trustees for their energy conservation efforts.

The main objective of the Energy Leadership program is to significantly cut energy costs while providing an optimal learning environment for students.

The program began in 2012 with Performance Services’ energy engineers and system experts completing an energy and behavioral audit of each school. The audit resulted in a customized and targeted set of energy conservation standards and behavioral practices. The District added two new staff members who are dedicated to the implementation and management of the program.

“The process that we have gone through during the last 16 months with Performance Services has been eye-opening,” FWCS Director of Facilities Darren Hess said.

Establishing energy conservation standards and encouraging behavioral changes, such as asking employees to turn off the lights when they leave a room, resulted in a reduction of 7,721,491 kWh of electricity and 296,589 therms of natural gas for the period April 2012 to March 2013, according to Steve Smethers, FWCS energy coordinator.

“It was a difficult decision to make the investment in the Energy Leadership program,” Chief Financial Officer Kathy Friend said. “However, the results have far exceeded our original expectations and will provide much needed relief to the general fund.”

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