Juneau schools save big bucks with conservation program

The Juneau School District has racked up more than 2-million dollars in energy savings since implementing a conservation program in 2007.

Energy Education Specialist Adrianne Schwartz tracks energy consumption for the district, and works with staff to reduce costs by following energy efficiency guidelines.

“And how I do that is I send out information letting everybody know what those guidelines are, and then I check buildings on a regular basis to make sure that those guidelines are being followed,” says Schwartz. “And the maintenance department actually plays a huge role in the program, because they’re dealing with all of our ventilation systems and heating equipment and all of those kinds of things behind the scenes.”

The guidelines were written with the help of Energy Education – a company that helps school districts, college campuses, and other institutions implement conservation measures.

In the four years since the district implemented them, Schwartz says Juneau schools have saved more than $2,063,000. That’s great news to school board President Sally Saddler.

“As you know we’ve been cutting our budget. We ended up cutting $4-million from our operating budget last year and we’re mostly likely looking at cuts again this year,” says Saddler. “So, you hear people say so often it’s time to work smarter, and I think this is a great example of the people in the school district who are working smarter.”

Schwartz, who took over the Energy Education Specialist job from Joyce Kitka this summer, says her goal for the future is to do more outreach to students.

“I started sending out a monthly newsletter, and I am including links to energy conservation curriculum. And I’ve had a few teachers ask me for information about that. I also had a high school group ask if I could come meet with them. So, I’m hoping that more and more of it gets into the classroom,” Schwartz says.

Energy Education, the company that helped implement the conservation plan, is no longer on contract. But it continues to offer free support to the district.

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