Under the leadership of Energy Manager Bob Yull, district-wide energy savings plans have culminated in two awards to the Carmel Clay School Corporation this year. The corporation earned Cenergistic’s 2013 Energy Lighthouse Award and both Carmel and Forest Dale Elementaries earned Energy Star Building status.
Yull pointed out Dr. Steve Tegarden, who recently served as Interim Superintendent, initiated the partnership with Cenergistic, formerly known as Energy Education, in 1995 to develop an energy-savings plan.
“We sought input from building administrators and staff,” said Yull. “There was, and is, great support from the central office and staff.”
He expressed appreciation for the school corporation’s support and thanked Assistant Superintendent for Business Affairs Roger McMichael and High School Building Manager Rusty Creech for their assistance and direction.
Yull announced Carmel and Forest Dale are the tenth and eleventh schools in the district to earn Energy Star scores in the 80th percentile of the nation. “It’s an award not only for energy efficiency,” he said, “but quality, too. You can’t just shut off all the lights and proclaim you’re energy efficient.”
Yull emphasized, however, the program’s success also relies on students taking “an active role by helping with lighting in unoccupied rooms.”
“Lighting can be up to half of the monthly usage in an electric bill,” he stated and recommended replacing high-wattage lightbulbs.
Three schools participate in the National Energy Foundation’s Energy Patrols pilot program: Carmel Clay, Smoky Row and Cherry Tree. A trained adult Energy Action Leader encourages student monitors to search for ways their schools could save energy.
The Foundation tracks and audits the savings twice a year to determine which practices work through federal State Energy Program grants.
“Carmel Clay schools had foresight to be trailblazers,” said Dr. Mike Bitar of Cenergistic. “Of all of our clients, there are only a handful that has sustained.”
Bitar explained some clients struggle to maintain energy efficiency. In 1995, Carmel Clay Schools were one of less than 100 clients. Today, Cenergistic serves over 1,250 clients with energy consultation.
“Carmel Clay schools has raised the bar for many,” Bitar said. “This is one more example of how Carmel clay does things. You do it right. You’re committed.”
While Cenergistic forms the base of the energy program, Yull said the corporation also seeks advice from the school architect and utility companies.
“Energize Indiana, Duke Energy and Vectron all have excellent information and support about ways to save energy,” he said. Yull recommended homeowners take advantage of Energize Indiana’s free home audits.
“Throughout the years, we’ve found there can be multiple ways to accomplish a goal,” Yull said. “Finding the best method can sometimes be a challenge.”
Recycling efforts started with cardboard and grew to include plastics, paper and cans in all buildings.
“Co-mingling or single stream recycling increased CCS’s recycling from just cardboard to everything,” he said. Single stream recycling is a system which allows a depositor to drop all possible recyclables into the receptacle without having to take extra time to sort them. Yull said this method increased recycling to include “classrooms, common areas, kitchens and cafeterias.”
The district also discovered a unique energy-saving system for the bus garage.
“With over 100 busses in our fleet, the garage has a lot of used oil,” he explained. “When the building was built, a heating system for burning that oil was installed. The building has a furnace which can burn oil collected from all the oil changes.”
Yull pointed out energy savings included considering not only cost, “but also our environmental impact.”
The district also benefits from CCS Green Team parent volunteer recommendations and assistance. The team’s website explains they seek ways “to incorporate as many green practices into the schools as possible.” While each school doesn’t have a team yet, their “goal is to have an official PTO Green Team at every school.”
Cenergistic representative Bitar also recognized Bob Yull, specifically, “in recognition of having surpassed $3.4 million in energy savings… serving as energy specialist for 18 years… saving financial and natural resources for the children and community.”
Bitar concluded, “Bob, you’ve done a phenomenal job.”