Elementary School Wins ENERGY STAR Challenge

05/31/2013 |

Equipment upgrades and occupant buy-in earned top honors for this New Jersey school

Demarest Elementary School is at the top of the class when it comes to energy. The Bloomfield, NJ school slashed its energy consumption by 52%, the highest in this year’s 2012 EPA ENERGY STAR National Building Competition.

In fact, thanks in part to Demarest’s efforts, the Bloomfield Public School District saved nearly 4.6 million kBTUs of energy last year and cut costs by nearly $76,000 by focusing on mechanical upgrades, smart management strategies, and behavior modification.

“The school took simple steps to significantly reduce energy use,” says Judith A. Enck, an EPA regional administrator. “School districts and facilities of any kind should look to Bloomfield as a model of what they can achieve.”

Demarest’s inexpensive efficiency strategies included:

  • The school identified and addressed a number of mechanical issues that had been overlooked for many years. One solution included replacing a timer associated with the heating system, which allowed it to run on a more energy-efficient schedule.
  • The head custodian aggressively adjusted boiler operation based on outside temperatures and changes in weather. When the building reaches temperature, all boilers are shut off in a practice the staff calls “toast and coast,” according to ENERGY STAR.
  • The hall lighting schedule was revamped so that lights were dimmed in the early morning and after students were dismissed.
  • The staff took control of energy management in their immediate areas by turning off and unplugging electronic devices, such as vending machines, when they were not needed.

The ENERGY STAR National Building Competition measures energy performance over an entire calendar year. Competitors tracked their building’s monthly energy consumption using Portfolio Manager.

The more than 3,000 participants in the 2012 competition saved a combined total of over three 3 kBTUs of energy and $50 million in utility costs.

Other top energy savers included a convenience store (48.5%), a retail outlet (43.1%), a federal courthouse (36.8%), and a high school (34.6%).

They also reduced annual greenhouse gas emissions equal to the amount of electricity used by more than 43,000 homes.

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