October is Energy Action Month

The Southeast Polk School District, as part of an overall effort to ensure good stewardship of financial and natural resources, continues to implement improvements to our buildings and systems resulting in either energy conservation (using less) or energy efficiency (doing more with less).

Better Bulbs
While the students were enjoying their time off during the past two summers, the old lightbulbs in our secondary and elementary buildings were replaced with newer, more energy efficient LED bulbs. While the new bulbs will be on the same amount of time as the old bulbs, we’ll use less energy. In fact, LED bulbs typically last longer and are brighter so fewer lights are needed to get the same or more light. Our Mid-American bills are showing decreased usage. For example, Spring Creek 6th Grade Center has already used 50,000 kWh less so far this year compared to the same time period last year, prior to having LED bulbs. That’s a 10.3% decrease in usage.

Smarter HVAC
The SEP Maintenance and Custodial staff closely manage our Heating, Ventilation and Cooling (HVAC) systems throughout the district utilizing a web-based building automation system that helps them make smart decisions to optimize building performance. Neil Paddock, SEP Lead Maintenance, shared, “We are currently going through an upgrade that will allow us to make more efficient time setting for our utilities to operate our heating, cooling and lighting throughout the district.”

Renewable Energy
As a partner with Mid American, we’re working to increase the percentage of annual production of energy delivered to customers from clean, renewable sources, such as wind, as a percentage of the total energy used. In 2017, 50.8% of the District’s annual energy usage came from renewable sources. Mid American’s goal is to reach 100% in the near future so we look for our percentage to also grow annually.

It’s not just big projects that make a difference. “Everyone’s actions working together make a big impact on our energy savings,” Jeannie Christenson, SEP Energy Manager shared. “Our program to date (since 2001) has avoided $8.5 million in energy costs. Thanks to everyone for making our energy program a successful one!”