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Volunteers Use Combined Knowledge to 'Green' School

 

Changes can bring about benefits and overhaul the way something operates. In the case of Canyon State Academy in Queen Creek, the greening process changes the way the academy operates, saving cost and building a firm foundation for present students and future youth.

The project started with a meeting in 2010 between the academy and the President’s Group, an association comprised of leaders from the Valley’s industry groups.

“CSA took on an initiative to reduce utility costs and make this campus environmentally responsible,” says John Motley, director of business and logistics for CSA. “The President’s Group had an initiative of providing community service to a school/organization to create ‘greener’ schools through our combined skills. It was at this point we came together.”

This led to a multi-association volunteer effort for the academy by the President’s Group, the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), International Facility Management Association (IFMA), United States Green Building Council (USGBC), FM Forum, and Arizona Cool Roof Council (ACRC), says Dave Munn, chief technical officer of Chelsea Group.

“(CSA) was chosen because we wanted to see what kind of changes could be done at a school when you don’t have to worry about the politics of a school board,” Munn says. “The hope was with the success of this project it would speak volumes to public school districts that changes can save money.”

A team consisting of 33 volunteer auditors from AEE made the trip to the 50-year-old campus and performed energy audits of the entire campus and analyzed collected data on energy use. The results then were used to make recommendations for low- and no-cost energy conservation options.

Additional volunteer projects by President’s Group helped CSA realize opportunities for efficiencies in other areas as well. A cool roof audit performed by Kim Scholten of ACRC showed a potential savings of 15% energy usage in one of the most utilized buildings. Landscaping suggestions by IFMA showed areas of water efficiency and maintenance savings. Ted Ritter of IFMA provided a software tool called Alteris, allowing paperless work orders and core asset lists for preventative maintenance practices. Finally, Curtis Slife of USGBC provided a comprehensive list of best practices for all assets, defined maintenance plans, develop a 10-year capital and operating and maintenance budget and benchmarking for all campus assets.

“When all recommended efficient energy measures are in place, CSA will show an annual savings of $48,674 in electrical savings per year alone — a reduction of 20.2% from the 2010 energy consumption,” Motley says.

Besides bringing in monetary savings, the project impacts the academy on an educational level, teaching students and the staff at the academy the value of being energy conscience, a lesson that will be passed along to generations, Motley says. Everyone at the academy welcomes the positive changes with appreciation. But the impact doesn’t end there.

“The greatest value is having an organized facility management team armed with money-saving, earth-saving tasks,” Munn says. “They will save money in manpower, electricity, purchasing, and will be better prepared from year-to-year on large capital expenses and preventative maintenance practices.”

Adds Motley: “All savings made through good conservation practices go directly back to the youth that we serve, allowing CSA to provide additional opportunities.”

Canyon State Academy serves the needs of at-risk youth requiring therapeutic residential education and treatment. It is an academy model school for 380 disadvantaged youth, placed by DES between the ages of 11 and 18.