Columbus City Schools (CCS) spent about $13.5 million on electricity, natural gas, and water for the over 130 facilities in its portfolio during the 2017-2018 school year. Since a portfolio of this magnitude warrants a portfolio-scale conservation effort, CCS published a request for qualifications in 2018 for a district-wide energy conservation assessment. Go Sustainable Energy was selected to lead this assessment.
Over six months, our team visited 132 facilities in the CCS portfolio to observe site conditions, talk to staff, identify energy efficiency opportunities, and create an asset list of major mechanical equipment. We performed detailed energy audits for nine high-priority cross-sectional facilities. We also performed extensive analysis of available electric interval data for about 50 of the sites.
Our team was assisted by CCS staff ranging from principals to teachers to custodians. We were welcomed into and escorted through CCS’s facilities and were able to collect a significant amount of data and make critical observations. The CCS energy manager and facility staff provided our team with direct, honest, and actionable feedback on a weekly basis, which directly supported our effectiveness.
Through extensive research and analysis, we identified that, with additional staff resources, CCS could reduce utility costs by $1.5-$2.5 million in a cash-flow-positive manner with the potential to save even more over the long term. The three primary areas of investment include significant ongoing attention to equipment scheduling, low-to-no cost operations-related opportunities, and lighting upgrades.
We also provided CCS with a preliminary framework for strategically managing utility consumption and costs over the next few years. This framework includes activity prioritization, goal setting, implementation of best practices, and recommendations on justifying additional staff resources.
After completing this study, we assisted CCS in obtaining significant grant and utility rebate funding and performing installation verification during a large-scale LED lighting conversion project. This project eliminated about 1 MW of peak load and is projected to annually save around 2 GWh of electricity and about $250,000 for CCS.
Strategic Energy Plan developer, energy auditor, grant advisor, verification consultant.
ClientColumbus City Schools
Peter Kleinhenz, PE
Gregory Raffio, PE, LEED AP BD+C