Albuquerque Public Schools says its spending less on energy costs, despite the district growing and adding more schools.
“One of the most satisfying statistics I have is showing that the square footage of the district is going up, and our electric consumption is going down,” said Tony Sparks, APS Energy Manager.
In four years, APS officials say they were able to get the districts energy consumption down nearly 20 percent. It’s all thanks to a team of people at their Energy Center.
“We’re being responsible with the public’s money. That’s the most important thing. There are people working very hard to be good stewards of the tax money that supports the school district,” said Sparks.
In the center, six people monitor all the activities in the district as far as consumptions, savings, and occupancy of buildings. They’re able to do that through monitors and sensors in the buildings.
Those help them to turn off lights in buildings that are not being used.
Officials say they’ve also reduced consumption by using solar panels at construction sites for the new schools.
However, with 143 schools and 160 sites, that’s can be an extremely complicated task.
That’s why APS officials say one of their strategies is to educate the students and staff about energy conservation.
One aspect of the energy team is an energy educator. Their responsibility is to create teams of students called “Building Buddies.”
“They study their buildings, maybe do an energy audit, do tours to understand what kind of equipment they have and how it’s being used, do interviews with staff and athletic directors. The students are driving solutions for energy conservation,” said Sparks.
Building Buddy teams are currently in 20 schools. Their goal is to get this program in every feeder school so they continue this throughout their entire education at APS.
The Energy Center is driven by Water and Energy Conservation Committee, a group of stakeholders from throughout the community.