School Board seeks comments on proposals to conserve energy use in school
(download memo in pdf format
September 12, 2008
Over the past few years, Ernie MacVane, our facilities manager, has spent
a great deal of time and effort assessing all of the school system's energy
demands. As a result of this work, many modifications have taken place in
our buildings that have significantly lowered those demands. Even with all
of his work, decreasing demands continue to require larger payments due to
ever increasing unit costs.
During the summer, several members of the school community sat together to
look at the savings. Clearly, we are monitoring:
the use of lights;
temperatures in our buildings;
the use of appliances in our food service departments;
fuel and operating times of our buses, for both transportation to and from
school and travel related to athletic and field trips;
the ever-increasing use of our buildings late into each evening;
control over the use of technology;
copiers and printers after school hours; and,
the focus of money needs of our educational programs versus energy
At the school board meeting on Tuesday, September 9, based on these discussions
and input from a variety of sources, I presented a list of possible areas
1. Remove all electrical appliances, including refrigerators, coffee pots,
microwaves, etc. from classrooms. No individual heating units should be placed
in rooms. Ensure that appropriate appliances are readily available in the
2. Turn off lights in classrooms and other sections of the schools when that
area is not in use.
3. Set daily temperatures in all classrooms at 65 degrees and nighttime levels
at 50 degrees except in areas where activities are occurring. (Daytime
temperature is currently set at 70 degrees). Keep parents well informed of
the temperature changes and ask that staff and students come to school
4. Addressing issues of extreme cold with the maintenance supervisor and
the building administrator. Thermostats/heat sensors should not be changed
except by the maintenance supervisor or his designee, and no one should use
any means to increase the heat except by the maintenance supervisor.
5. Limit after school access to buildings, closing all floors/areas as soon
as possible. Custodial work will be done by areas and, once finished, that
area of the building is locked and lights are turned off.
6. Plan on at least one night per week when the buildings are closed, except
for cleaning. Issues regarding scheduled practices may require the lower
floor of the high school to be open but all precautions need to be taken
to avoid unnecessary use of energy.
7. Staff who stay late in their classrooms will know that custodial services
to their rooms will have to be completed on a timely basis and that there
may be some interruption.
8. All computers, copiers, printers, etc. should be turned off completely
at the end of the day.
9. Students in buildings must be supervised by an adult at all times and
that adult must ensure, prior to leaving, that all lights are turned off
and all doors and windows are appropriately shut and locked. Avoiding any
additional cold air into the building must be carefully monitored.
10. The possibility of moving to a four-day week, at least in the winter
months, was the subject on a recent article in the Portland Press Herald.
The lengthening of these school days by at least 90 minutes was proposed.
Although this may be a logical decision for some districts with extremely
long bus routes and very high energy costs, we must first consider several
issues including demands of:
a. Academically appropriate realignment of programs to meet each student's
b. Day care services for the no school days versus day care changes for elongated
c. Athletic program schedules and either limiting to certain non-academic
times or changing plans for participating on academic days; and
d. Aligned curriculum and instruction to meet all student needs.
The feedback of staff, parents, students and the general public is welcome.
Please send your comments to my administrative assistant, Andrea Fuller,
of the School Board.
Although energy prices continue to fluctuate, we know that the demands and
costs will continue to affect our spending on energy.
Alan H. Hawkins