Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Today's Energy Insight

Did you know our schools are billed twice for our electricity use? Well, technically there are two components to our school’s electricity bill - the energy charge and the demand charge. The bills we see at our homes have the cost per kilowatt hour of electricity used, but schools and other commercial buildings are also charged for their peak demand load.

Here is how electric energy is billed for a school:
1. Energy Charge (use over time): Electricity is typically metered at each school facility to determine the amount of kilowatt hours used. This meter is read each month and the difference in the readings accounts for the total consumption; school are billed accordingly.
2. Demand Charge (use at one point in time): Utility companies look at the highest peak of electric use during the month. For example, during the month of December, the total peak demand will be measured every fifteen minutes and charted on a graph. The highest electric load during the month is what the utility will bill for demand. So in other words, if one day out of the month you have everything powered to full blast, that’s the day you’ll be charged for all month.

Why does a utility company have this charge?
Electricity-consuming equipment in a school determines the school’s demand for electricity. As electric use fluctuates during the day and during various seasons, it creates unknown electric load demands for a utility company. In order to accommodate for this, the utility company needs to know the maximum amount of electricity required to provide to their customers.

How can schools help reduce this electricity charge?
Focus on reducing energy use from 11am – 2pm, since that is when occupancy and energy use are highest. In fact, lunch hour is typically the most energy-intense time of the day in a school. Building engineers are trained on how to schedule their large equipment to lower their peak demand load. It is important to understand this concept in case you do play a role in a strategy to reduce these demands costs.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

It's the Final Countdown...

At the end of this month, the current energy awareness and educational campaign for Robbinsdale Area Schools will be coming to a close. After six successful years, the approximate savings realized throughout the district are close to 3/4 of a million dollars! This estimate does not include all the savings through the UNESCO projects that included lighting retrofits, HVAC upgrades and more.

With the absence of the campaign materials out in the buildings, no more educational activities in the classrooms and the end of these blog posts, it is going to be up to YOU to remind yourself to be vigilant about being energy conscious so the district can run as efficiently as possible.
Remember saved energy = money saved!

Think GREEN ~ Getting Robbinsdale Energy Efficient Now!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

School's Out for Summer!

It's that time of year again. Buildings are empty of students and most staff. There are many opportunities to save energy during June, July and August. Please make sure to do the following to keep our buildings operating efficiently throughout the summer months:

  • Close blinds and drapes.
  • Keep vents clear of books and boxes.
  • Turn off monitors, printers, speakers, smart boards, etc.
  • Turn off and unplug all miscellaneous electronics.
  • Consolidate refrigerators in staff lounges; turn off, clean and prop open all but one.
  • Empty, turn off, clean and prop open refrigerators in FACS rooms and science labs.
  • Be aware of any opportunities to save energy during the unoccupied months.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Today's Energy Insight

A Little Peer Pressure Can Be a Good Thing!

By definition, peer pressure is “influence from members of one's peer group.” That said, how about influencing your peers by being a model of energy efficiency? When you see someone practicing energy efficient habits, it can be contagious!

Thanks for being energy smart and putting a bit of pressure on your peers to do the same! A little teamwork goes a long way!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Today's Energy Insight

Bring on the Heat!

Just a little over a month ago, we were dealing with a blizzard and over Memorial weekend we had temps of 100+ degrees! Now that summer temps have arrived, here are some ways to save energy during hot weather...

Using ceiling fans to circulate air will make you feel cooler and possibly allow you to raise the temperature setting on your AC thermostat by a few degrees. But be sure to turn the fan off when you leave the room, because fans cool people, not space.

Shift energy-intensive household chores such as laundry and dishwashing to off-peak hours – nights, mornings, weekends – when there is less strain on the power grid, and operate these units with full loads to get the most for your energy dollars.

Plug energy leaks with weather stripping and caulking and be sure your house is properly insulated to save up to 20 percent on cooling (and winter heating) bills.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Today's Energy Insight

Now that warm summer weather has decided to stick around for a while, here are just a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to operating your air conditioner more efficiently:

  • Get a tune up. Have your AC tuned up by a qualified heating contractor every other year. This will help it operate more efficiently and may prevent failures in the middle of peak cooling season.
  • Keep the condenser and filter clean. Keep leaves, grass and other debris away from the outside condenser. Also, clean the filter monthly and replace it as needed. A clean condenser and filter help the unit run more efficiently.
  • Keep vents clear. Make sure furniture and drapes are not blocking air vents. This allows the cool air to move out into the rooms and keeps your air conditioner from running more than necessary.
  • Turn up the thermostat setting. When home, set it a couple of degrees higher. Before you head out, move the setting even higher, about 78 to 80 degrees. Cooling the house back down a few degrees when you return costs less than keeping it cool while you are gone.
  • Keep thermostats clear of heat. Don’t place heat-producing devices such as computers or TVs near your thermostat. Heat from these could cause the thermostat to read a higher temp leading to excessive cooling and wasted energy.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Today's Energy Insight

Whether you have a traditional, tropical or funky ceiling fan overhead, it still needs to be spinning in a counter-clockwise direction during the summer cooling months. And be sure to turn your ceiling fan off in unoccupied rooms because fans cool people, not the air. It's similar to a wind-chill effect. Be energy smart and don't let fans run all day in unoccupied areas.