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South Colonie's Energy Management Program

light bulb graphicDistrict Avoids Millions of Dollars in Energy Usage Expenses Since 2001

If you’re the one responsible for paying the heat and electric bills in your home you know the cost of energy has skyrocketed over the years.

Now just imagine you have to heat and light nine, multi-room school buildings and offices totaling more than one million square feet of space. That’s the type of energy concerns facing the South Colonie Central School District.

So with that in mind, the district initiated an energy management and conservation program in 2001.

The program was originally implemented through a partnership with Energy Education, Inc., an energy management and consulting firm operating in nearly 400 school districts in 39 states. Today, the district continues its energy conservation program, and to date has avoided nearly $3.2 million in energy usage costs.

Years ago, the district undertook a comprehensive analysis of the its total energy usage in an effort to determine where energy was being used efficiently and where it was not. Since then, staff and students were made aware of energy waste and things they can do to conserve it. Grant funds were also solicited to fund energy conservation measures.

The district energy motto has been “Every dollar saved on reducing energy costs is one more dollar that can go toward educating our children.”

So what have staff and students done to save energy over the years? Well, there are the obvious things like turning off lights when you leave a room or shutting down an air conditioner at night when no one is in the building. Then there are the not so obvious.

Did you know that closing the blinds at night in every classroom seals in energy and reduces heating costs? And did you know that shutting off the lights on soda and vending machines can save an estimated $8,000 a year in electricity?

Saving energy is nothing new to South Colonie Schools. Over the years, the district has implemented cost-saving measures like timer-controlled heating, air conditioning and lighting systems that have saved money. The district monitors those systems on a weekly basis to make sure they are operating the way they should and when they should.

Top 10 Energy Saving Tips For Schools and Business

  • Turn off lights and equipment when not in use.

  • Use available sunlight to illuminate your work spaces.

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps.

  • Install LED (light-emitting diode) "EXIT" signs.

  • Install occupancy sensors to automatically turn off lights.

  • Control direct sunlight through windows with screens or film.

  • Regularly change HVAC filters.

  • Tune-up your HVAC units (clean and check refrigerant charge).

  • Install programmable thermostats.

  • Purchase ENERGY STAR office equipment.

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