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Energy manager helps Canfield schools save money

Published: Sat, April 2, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

Energy manager helps Canfield schools save money

By Kristine Gill



Evana Delon can hear energy being wasted.

When the Canfield High School teacher walks the halls as energy manager for the district, she’s listening for the hum of a computer modem, the whir of a fan, even the drip of a faucet — anything that should have been turned off as part of the district’s effort to save money on utilities through the Energy Education program.

“When I walk around in a building at night, what I want to hear is silence,” Delon said. “And that’s golden.”

Since beginning the Energy Education program in June, the district has saved $73,218 in utility bills across its four school buildings, the weight room, bus garage and board offices. That’s about a 22 percent savings compared to the same time frame last year.

Energy Education is a national consulting group that targets school districts. In the last 25 years, the group has saved school districts $2.2 billion in energy costs including gas, electricity, water and sewage. Sixteen Ohio school districts have participated in that time, reporting more than $20 million in savings, said Jan Noel- Smith, spokesperson for Energy Education.

Since July, the Canfield district has paid $30,000 to participate in Energy Education, business manager Rich Archer said. That figure includes about half of Delon’s $17,000 annual stipend.

“The whole purpose of this program is to save money, positions and programs,” Delon said.

Those savings were calculated during a six-month time period from July through December of 2009 and 2010 with factors such as weather taken into account. Archer said the district hopes to save $2.6 million over a 10-year period.

Delon and Archer said utilities are the second-largest line item in a school’s budget — salaries being first. Those bills are paid with money from the general fund, and anything that is saved through the program can be put toward other expenses.

As energy manager, Delon has worked with seven consultants based in different parts of the country who visit Canfield often. Delon was chosen from a handful of candidates the district interviewed. Archer said the job is practically full time and has Delon at various buildings after hours, on weekend and during summer and holiday breaks.

“She’s got keys to everything. The police department knows her car,” Archer said. “She’s a valuable pair of eyes.”

Archer expects to employ an energy manager even after the four years of the program are over.

Energy Education promises that every school district will at least break even after 12 months of saving on utilities and will be able to pay for the cost of the program and the energy manager’s salary as well as travel to various training conferences.

After the four years are over, the district will be on its own when it comes to maintaining those practices they’ve ingrained in faculty in staff through a people-driven approach.

“This isn’t about putting in new equipment or retrofitting ... it’s about changing behavior,” Archer said.

Since July, the air conditioning has been set at 74 degrees for all buildings. The heat is never higher than 68 degrees for the high school and middle school. The elementary school is set at 70 degrees in the winter.

Using small data loggers, Delon has been able to pinpoint those classrooms whose thermostats don’t work correctly. She’s also zoned the high school building and can have lights on only in areas where late-night extracurricular activities take place.

The district even worked with Pepsi to disable lighting on its vending machines. Now a sign above them reassures students that they’re functioning properly even though they aren’t glowing.

Because hallways aren’t heated, classroom doors are pulled shut. Most hallways go dark shortly after students board buses home. The main foyer at the high school receives so much natural light from big windows and doors that staff doesn’t turn the building’s foyer lights on most days.

The district has paid for minor repairs to the buildings to help with the program including weather stripping along some doors and light switches, but Delon said the cost for those repairs has been insignificant.

The program has even sparked friendly competition among faculty and staff. Delon leaves sticky notes behind when a classroom has followed the rules during one of her sweeps of a building. She leaves behind reminder forms if a teacher forgets to shut down a computer or set the thermostat correctly.

“Evana has made all of us a little more observant in our walking around,” Archer said.


1thuyblum(1 comment)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Fabulous News!! I just printed Coupons for free. You can print coupons before you shop at "Printapons" search online.

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2Photoman(1019 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

This sounds like a great program which could be utilized by most districts. Let's hope more districts take such action to stop the incessant whining for more tax monies.

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3speakup(5 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

So let's see, according to business manager Rich Archer, "Since July, the Canfield district has paid $30,000 to participate in Energy Education," a figure which onlly includes approximately half of Delon’s $17,000 annual stipend. That means the district has actually spent 38,500 since July for a savings in utility costs of $73,218. Do the math.

The district actually saved $34,718, not 73,218; an amount that most certainly could have been accomplished by repairing leaky faucets, installing a few thermostat controls and holding staff accountable for consciencous energy control to existing administration without hiring an "energy control specialist." Sounds like Delon's "job" could have saved one of those on the chopping block due to levy failure.

Canfield Schools needs to stop blaming the community for it's lack of levy support, and refrain from riduculous decisions like these which are costing the students the teachers they deserve, because until they do, Canfield levies don't stand a chance.

And to think they wanted to boast about this in the Vindy.

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4spinman(70 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Canfield schools really need an energy manager. How much fat is in this system ???? I do not know of any other school system in the area having an energy manager.....

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5dawgalong(86 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

The following is an excerpt from an article about Energy Education Inc. from a Milwaukee, Wisconsin Newspaper. In fairness, the article stated that school systems that purchase the product do realize savings. BUT, school systems that take the initiative to use common sense and readily available information stand to gain the entire savings without paying a consulting fee. All it takes is effort.

"Hamilton and Kenosha are copying a key part of Energy Education's program: allowing the buildings to be hotter in the summer and colder in the winter when classes or after-school events are not in session.

Districts using Energy Education said they set their winter heat at 68 to 70 degrees during school and 55 after, although buildings never get that cold. Summer air conditioning is set at 74 to 78 degrees, with temperatures rising into the 80s after hours when the air is off.

Pat Finnemore, Kenosha's director of facilities, said that is what saves the most money and causes the most complaints by staff.

"This is the lure of (Energy Education Inc.) to administrators," he said. "They can let them be the bad guy: 'We're doing this because the consultants are telling us to do this.' We felt comfortable being the bad guy."

Again echoing things the company recommends, Kenosha restricts teachers from using portable space heaters or air conditioners. Kenosha's superintendent also must approve any use of personal appliances, such as coffee makers, microwaves, refrigerators, toaster ovens and pizza makers, to cut power use.

Kenosha, without paying consultant fees, avoided about $461,000 in utility costs last school year by cutting usage, Finnemore said.

Finnemore said that whether districts hire Energy Education or do it on their own, they can no longer afford to waste energy.

Muskego's Rosploch agreed.

"What you're trying to do is develop good energy habits," he said."

By taking a few minutes to Google "Energy Saving Tips for Schools" I was able to find dozens of sites that basically outline an energy conservation plan exactly as the one described in virtually every article that credits energy savings to Energy Education Inc.

For example:

Up next: The Recommendation.

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6dawgalong(86 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

The Recommendation:

1) Don't throw good money after bad. Tell Energy Education INC. that their services are no longer needed.

2) Continue with the termostat control initiative. Lock them out if necessary. Drop by one degree in Winter and raise by one degree in Summer, immediately.

3) Download Energy Tips from websites for free, take ten minutes out of every school week to review the information with every staff member and student in the district. This is your continued education.

4) Eliminate the Energy administrator position immediately. District administration should assume all responsibilities of the position at no additional merit increase.

5) The administration must write an Energy Conservation Plan for the district and ensure that all employees adhere to the plan or be subject to discipline. Sorry sweaty Betty and Bert, but your fans have got to go......

6) Purchase This http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/flu...
and use it to detect any energy loss both inside and out of all structures. Address issues with the district's maintenance crew. DO NOT hire outside contractors to Chaulk windows, seal roofs and vents, or wrap insulation around boiler and HVAC piping. Geez, you'd probably have all of the maintenance guys fighting over who gets to use it next.


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7dawgalong(86 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

7) OK, I'll let you in on a little secret. The little temperature taking thingys that they plastered on the door jams are the hook. They have duped you into paying yourself to gather data that they are using to scare you into continuing to purchase their product. They probably tell you that there are "fluctuations in the readings". Temperatures are not stable. We have A LOT of work to do before you are completely energy efficient.
Because of doors opening and closing and hundreds of students rushing to get to class, there are vortexes that create fluctuations in the readings. You buy in because YOU are taking the readings. They don't tell you that there will ALWAYS be fluctuations in the readings. Unless data is downloaded into a graph that is used to identify the ideal placement for thermostats in order to eliminate the potential for excessive Heating and HVAC overuse, the little temperature thingys are their Trojan Horse.

Most of all, realize that you have been lax in your obligations to the taxpayers of Canfield. You have once again given away tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars buying magic beans. Not only were you foolish enough to buy magic beans, you actually paid someone to plant them for you.

The ultimate slap in the taxpayer's face is the overzealous insistence that maintaining the Energy Manager position for years to come is actually a good idea. I suppose that if I could get someone else to pay for somebody to do my job, I would think it was an awesome idea too. Have I lost my mind? Doesn't anybody else see how ludicrous and skewed this administration's thinking is?

I started posting in order to ask the simple question "why is the asking price for the levy so high"? I STILL have not been presented with any type of legitimate answer except that the district has been mismanaged.

Stand up, do your job, be innovative, lead by example, use the people (all People) around you to help solve problems systematically, be available and forthcoming with the taxpayers by not attempting to throw up smokescreens and do your damned job.

Realize that this district is a business. It is not a non profit organization. The business has been driven into bankruptcy and somebody is responsible. It is obvious that the issues surrounding this quagmire cannot be soley attributed to "higher Fuel costs". I would suggest the board investigate and report to the taxpayers the circumstance for the cause of bankruptcy. Then report to the taxpayers what corrective actions they have implemented.

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8canfieldrebel(37 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

This article is just another example of the well orchestrated public campaign of the District Superintendent and his disciples, the Canfield School Board. This is a prime example of how appearance is so vitally important to the Canfield school district. It does not matter how fake or contrived the appearance really is.

In Canfield, we are being asked to vote yes to continue the tradition of "Excellence". In this district, "excellence" is defined only by a state rankiing, the success of the district sports teams, and the pay scale of district employees.

Some people are buying into the message whole-heartedly. Kudos to the Superintendent and school board for converting those who voted against the levy just months ago to lemmings willing to follow them over the cliff of yet more taxes.

For those who have drunk the Kool-Aid, take a step back and think about today's environment. While most of us and the companies that we work for have effectively done more with less, we are looking at throwing more money at a school system that has placed absolutely no focus on doing the same. Now, all of the sudden, the District has seemingly sought to embrace cost-cutting and cost-saving measures. Before we feed the public sector beast with more cash, how about requiring it to think like those in the private sector, better managing the funds that it has while identifying creative and innovative ways to stay the course during these difficult financial times? We in the private sector have successfully responded to the challenge; why not have the same expectation of our school board and school administrators.

Education is the base of the economic pyramid and I am committed to the best education possible for all our children and fully support keeping competent teachers in our schools. But the economic realities dictate that the teachers' union and the school board must get creative and figure out how to maintain our standard of excellence in the budget they have. It is that simple.

It is incorrect to state that those of us who voted against the levy are "punishing the kids". We are exercising our right to vote. There are two choices, for the levy and against the levy, not reward the kids and punish the kids.

Everyone always wants to support education, but sometimes you need to knock some common "business sense" into the school board, and this is one of those times. Until that occurs, it is time to vote "no." We'll listen to the board whine and complain, but until they make fundamental changes in how the district is run, "no" is the correct answer to any request from them to fund their ill-advised approach to running the district.

We need to make a statement to the school board, which is clueless when it comes to what is going on in the economy and what needs to happen to REALLY help Canfield schools from their slow decline to mediocrity!

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9kfarley13(16 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

What kind of nonsense is this?????? Let Canfield Schools get back to the basics and quit adding all the stuff the school does not need.

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10republicanRick(1251 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

What the heck was the business manager doing BEFORE about energy conservation? Sheesh, now using common sense rates a front page article?

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11JME(801 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

I wonder how much it cost Zambrini to place this advertisement (oops, I meant article) on the Vindy front page.

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12canfieldrebel(37 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

I would also like someone in the District to explain the $17,000 annual stipend that Mrs. Delon is receiving for this program. She is also employed as an intervention teacher/aide for special education students at Canfield High School. She is responsible for monitoring and documenting their academic progress and for writing the Individual Education Plans for these students. I sincerely doubt that Mrs. Delon has given up her salary as the intervention teacher. It does sound, however, that the bulk of her day is being spent walking the halls of the District buildings, as an "energy narc". What has happened to the special education students that she is responsible for??

But again....it is all about the appearance. The special ed students are not going to complain. And if they did, no one would listen or care.

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13dawgalong(86 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

One more item.

8) Any IT person worth their salt can have every PC in the district shut down automatically after five minutes of no activity. All corporations have instituted this application years ago. The only employees affected are the ones that are upset that they cannot make one click and get back on to EBay to check their bids. This way, the "Energy Manager" won't have to trip around dark hallways all night listening for running computers.

Use Engineering controls to eliminate waste permanently.

I have tallied my invoice for services. By my calculation, I have just saved you $49,250.00 per year. If the district were not in bankruptcy, I would send the bill. I'll call it even if you promise not to raise my taxes unnecessarily.

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14motherof3(15 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Shame on all of you for taking something good and positive and attacking it. I can no longer read these blogs because the negativity of the same 5 or 6 people continues to poison the virtual airways of this website. It's worse than "drinking the Kool - Aid." People of the Mahoning Valley are drinking the toxic draino that you bloggers are offering. I hope at some point, they decide they've had enough. I am ashamed to be a Vindy subscriber if all of you are, too. I am even more sorry for my children because they will have to live in a society that is affected by the outcome of your poisonous rants. The schools are not the problem… you are.

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15speakup(5 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

In response to "Mother of 3"

There is nothing good and positive about an unnecessary program being implemented while quality teaching positions are being eliminated. And furthermore, just as what you posted is your opinion, what I posted is mine, not the "toxic draino," you call anyone whose thoughts differ from your own. As a parent of three I would hope that if your children are attending the Canfield Local Schools, you at the very least value the quality of teachers whose jobs hang in the balance as the administration continues to make decisions such as these.

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16canfieldrebel(37 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Mom of 3

You need to open your eyes and take off your rose-colored glasses. This school district is in trouble. There needs to be less blather and more creative thinking about the facts and solutions to the problems of the Canfield school district. Our Superintendent and our School Board do not care about our kids. They do not care about the unity of our community. They do not care about anything but the preservation of the status quo. The School Board has granted the Superintendent carte blanche powers, despite the fact that they are HIS boss. He is running the campaign for this levy the way he runs the district. The website that has been designated to provide information says nothing of substance. My middle school aged child could do better. A postcard went out last week and it was a joke. Just more feel-good drivel. The Town Hall forums are a disgrace and are just a forum for public official sanctioned bullying. Do not dare question him or his authority...you will be belittled and dismissed. When one attempts to obtain the facts from our Superintendent, he waxes poetic and says nothing. When you confront him on an issue, he either dismisses you, belittles you, or has a red-faced hissy fit. Try to find out how this levy will directly impact your children and what benefits they will see from it. My guess...all of this levy money is going to salaries and benefits. Our kids will not get the new textbooks they need...they will not have access to the latest, innovative educational technology....they will not benefit at all.

I hope you wake up and realize that your blind allegiance to this District's rhetoric is dangerous to your children. This District wants to hurt you and wants to hurt your children....the decisions that they have made in the past few months are hard evidence of that.

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