Lower Energy Costs Keep More Money in the Classroom
Even when school is not in session, Manteca Unified School District is finding ways to conserve energy so that more funds can be directed to the classroom. One way that MUSD accomplishes this goal is by conducting regular “Energy Audits” during student breaks.
Energy Audits are organized by members of Manteca Unified’s Energy Program, led by Construction Supervisor Justin Geer. Prior to Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter break periods, Energy Program staff send specific guidelines to schools that outline how to conserve energy as much as possible to reduce unnecessary costs. The energy conservation guidelines allow staff to work together with site custodians to ensure appliances and computers are unplugged, thermostats are lowered, lights are turned off, and other energy-saving steps are taken.
The purpose is simple – by not spending money on energy use when students and teachers are not on campus, the district’s costs for PG&E and other energy services are lowered, allowing the money reserved to be used in a way that benefits students. MUSD has made significant efforts to curb energy waste since the announcement of its Energy Conservation and Management Program in 2010. By tracking consumption and analyzing energy usage, the district can propose solutions and mitigate issues in advance.
The energy audit process takes 1 to 2 hours to complete and requires Construction Technicians from the Facilities Department to visit and assess interior spaces in each school. While it takes time and effort to audit classrooms and common areas, the benefits are reflected in the program’s data.
“After the audits are completed, we organize the data into spreadsheets and send them off to school principals,” explained Construction Energy Technician Mike Lehr while checking classroom thermostats during Spring Break.
These reports break down an energy use and cost analysis that principals can share with their staff, giving each school a guide on how they can better conserve energy in the future.