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Posted: March 13, 2019

Energy Center Monitors Conservation Efforts

The APS Energy Team is working to make the district a good steward of taxpayer dollars and a good citizen of the earth.

"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." Albert Einstein 

The sage advice is painted on a wall in the Albuquerque Public Schools Energy Center, where a team of conservationists meets regularly to review the district's energy-saving efforts. 

On one recent morning, members of the Energy Team analyzed temperature data at an APS elementary school. A computer monitor nearby displayed energy input from solar panels atop a school on a cloudy day. Above it, another monitor listed all of the events in APS schools to make sure lights were off when they were empty. Still, another kept tabs on water usage to make sure sprinklers weren't on when it was raining.

And then there were the posters for EnergyWise, the district's energy conservation education program that aims to make conservation more sustainable by engaging students and staff in the cause. 

 It's all part of the district goal's to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent by the end of the 2024 school year. APS has nearly met that goal well ahead of schedule, even as the district has grown in square footage, schools and buildings. 

The conservation efforts have saved the district about $4 million so far. But as Energy Manager Tony Sparks explains, that's only part of the goal. APS also is committed to changing behaviors so that energy conservation becomes sustainable.

Students play a key role in this effort, which is why APS has an energy education component. About 20 schools have created energy teams, called Building Buddies, that provide opportunities for teachers to use an interdisciplinary hands-on approach to instructing students about the various energy resources and how to eliminate waste at their school and home. APS hopes to expand the educational program to all of its schools. 

Much guidance for the APS Energy Team and the district's energy-saving efforts comes from the Water and Energy Conservation Committee, made up of key personnel from Maintenance and Operations and Facilities, Design and Construction as well as local community associations and other institutional and governmental entities. 

WECC and the APS Energy Team work in cooperation with municipal utility representatives to successfully implement numerous inventive energy conservation strategies and to continue to introduce others. 

Watch KRQE's news story about the APS Energy Center.