By Caitlin Schudalla
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The Norman Public School district has slashed more than $600,000 out of its energy expenditures, earning special distinction from Dallas-based Cenergistic earlier this week.
Beginning in July 2010, NPS implemented an energy conservation initiative through Cenergistic (then Energy Education), using July 2010- June 2011 as the base year for reference.
“The district’s savings are really incredible, especially considering that an entire new building and new classrooms have been added since the program began. NPS spent less on energy than three years ago, and it currently has much more facility square footage to heat and cool,” said Cenergistic Specialist and Safety Coordinator Jerry Privett.
During a presentation to the board of education early last year, Privett explained that the focus of the program is based somewhat on facility updates like motion-sensing lights, but especially on cultivating energy-saving habits in the faculty, staff and students who use the facilities.
“We look for factors which can be controlled, such as turning off lights and shutting off computers,” Privett said in 2012. “Computers left on standby consume about 50 watts, which isn’t much by itself, but considering we have between 5,000 and 6,000 computers in the district, this is very significant.”
NPS’ conservation efforts in just the past 17 months equate to putting 125,170 trees back into the environment, and Cenergistic Chairman William Spears said NPS is to be praised for its successful efforts.
“Norman Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano, the board members and administration are demonstrating wise fiscal and environmental stewardship by implementing this unique organizational, behavior-based energy conservation program,” Spears said. “Using human resources to reduce energy use saves natural and financial resources for the organization and the community.”
For Siano, the savings mean more financial leeway to compensate for shrinking resources elsewhere.
“The greater impact of having your district’s utility bills not be $600,000 higher amid already strained finances is that you are able to dedicate more resources where they are needed most: in the classroom,” Siano said.