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Energy matters!

Since the District’s energy conservation efforts were first launched decades ago, many APS employees (most notably FD+C staff and the M&O Mechanical and Electrical Departments), teachers, students, and custodians have been adopting many good conservation habits. APS’ initial conservation efforts were straightforward with a focus on the obvious measures to save energy, which was a good place to start, but these measures eventually hit a “where to go from here?” wall. As it was time to reach higher, deeper, and wider, the District formed the Water and Energy Conservation Committee (WECC) — the brainchild of FD+C Executive Director Karen Alarid — in September 2013. Under the guidance of WECC, APS’ energy conservation endeavors have taken a giant leap forward, and there’s no looking back! WECC has revamped and shifted APS’ Energy Conservation Program (ECP) into high gear and knows no boundaries.

WECC is charged with identifying and implementing conservation opportunities District wide. The program consists of three intersecting areas of conservation: 1) new building design and construction; 2) building system operation and maintenance; and 3) the day-to-day habits and culture of the end users (which includes educational outreach that impacts behavioral practices throughout APS.) It is where these three facets intersect that a balanced approach and the most beneficial energy conservation efforts will be seized. However, there will also be no comprising education in this massive goal of identifying every miniscule amount of wasted water, electricity, and gas and eliminating it. The entire conservation effort has to first create an environment conducive to education and then has to save energy. To make this happen, WECC is changing the culture of APS, branding energy education, and folding curriculum and students into the transformation.

WECC evolved from a holistic recognition that every drop of leaking water could develop into a large lake, and an infinitesimal amount of wasted electricity can add up to enough wattage to power hundreds of motorboats speed racing on that lake. APS’ new energized ECP evolved from this discernment that saving energy means getting down to the minutia of every facet of energy — the delivery systems; the controls on those systems; the users (building occupants) of the systems; the technicians who service and repair the systems; the systems’ design as well as the design of the space the systems cool and heat; when that space is in justifiable use and when the use can be redirected; when and how to most economically purchase the energy; and lastly but most critical to the sustainability of the ECP, participation of the entire energy literate APS populace. It’s not only a consolidation of all the variables of energy and energy use, but also the consolidation of the information and education in creating one comprehensive energy picture that can be managed. If it seems endless, it’s because it is and is worth repeating, conserving energy at APS knows no boundaries!

APS’ energy conservation efforts grew by leaps and bounds in the 2014-15 fiscal year, gaining traction and realizing many gains presented in this section. The re-energized ECP is directing all conservation efforts from a perspective of consolidation, fully acknowledging that it’s an overarching concept, yet achievable. The APS Board of Education and executive leadership is on board with WECC’s ambitions to change the energy use culture throughout the District. It is a daunting undertaking, considering APS’ vast physical size and its 100,000 plus population of students, faculty, and staff is represented by vastly different ideologies.

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