K-12 School Spotlight: Poudre School District, Fort Collins, Colorado
Bundling Energy Management with Bill Processing and Payment
Poudre School District (PSD) integrated energy data management into the organizational structure by establishing the Energy Conservation Program and hiring an energy manager that implemented utility data management, utility bill oversight, and pursued energy efficiency projects. Since the program was established in 1993, PSD has saved more than $615,000 per year with cumulative savings of over $2 million through 2012.
Goal: Achieve a 20% reduction in energy intensity by 2020 from a 2008 baseline across school facilities and comply with a municipal mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 from 2005 levels.
Barrier: Lack of process, team, or unified organizational plan to manage data.
Solution: Integrated energy data management into the organizational structure by establishing the Energy Conservation Program and hiring an energy manager that implemented utility bill oversight, energy management, and pursued energy efficiency projects.
Outcomes: Achieved ongoing yearly savings of more than $615,000 since 1993 and cumulative savings of over $2 million through 2012.
PSD, located in Fort Collins, Colorado, serves approximately 30,000 students and includes 50 schools. PSD is the 9th-largest K-12 school district in Colorado and covers 1,856 square miles in northern Colorado. PSD set a goal to achieve a 20% energy reduction by 2020 across approximately 4 million square feet from a 2008 baseline year.
In addition to its energy reduction goal, PSD is required to comply with the Fort Collins goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% from 2005 levels by 2020. The requirements include reporting on progress toward the goal and maintenance of ENERGY STAR® certification for 37 schools and 2 office buildings.
In order achieve these goals, PSD integrated energy data management into the organizational structure by establishing the Energy Conservation Program and hiring an energy manager that implemented utility data management, utility bill oversight, and energy efficiency projects.
PSD's energy manager dedicated 3-4 hours each week to manual entry of paper and electronic utility bills into the school district's data tracking tool. These bills covered PSD's portfolio of 440 electric, water, trash, recycling, composting, and natural gas accounts across 50 facilities. By entering the billing data into one tracking tool, the energy manager ensured that cost and consumption data remained as up to date as possible and back logs of bills did not make data entry unmanageable.
Utility Bill Oversight, Analysis, and Payment
The energy manager is responsible for timely and thorough review of billing and assumes the fiscal responsibility for utility accounts and the school's energy budget. As a result, the energy manager reviewed and approved utility invoices prior to payment. Because the energy manager is familiar with the school district's portfolio of energy using assets and energy efficiency projects, he analyzed utility bills for anomalies as they came in to assure that the data entered into the tracking tool is free of manual entry errors.
Communication and Reporting
The energy manager produced monthly reports displaying energy use and costs and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as water, trash, composting, and recycling statistics for each school. The reports also included information on how close each school is to reaching the 2020 greenhouse gas reduction goal (Figure 1). The energy manager shared these reports with school staff, custodial staff, and students, and the reports are posted on the school district's website.
Dedicated Funding for Energy Efficiency Projects
PSD also tracked savings generated by energy efficiency projects and returned the savings to the district's general fund to help pay for district education priorities. In this way, realized energy savings further supported the school district's educational mission. PSD also has an internal funding source dedicated to annual energy efficiency, water, and solid-waste projects. The energy efficiency projects reduced annual utility costs and mitigated the impact of utility rate increases.
Since the inception of the Energy Conservation Program in 1993, PSD has completed 263 energy efficiency projects, achieved ongoing yearly savings of more than $615,000 and cumulative savings of over $2 million through 2012, and 39 schools and 2 office buildings received the ENERGY STAR label in 2013.
Note: The information in this case study is based on primary research conducted in 2013. Learn more about the guide's research and development. To learn more about optimizing your organizational structure for energy data management, see Step 6.