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Springfield School District Partners with EDF Climate Corps to Reduce Energy Costs

Central High School
Photo Credit: Grant Beach Neighborhood Association

Leonardo Covis is in Springfield for ten weeks.  The graduate student from UC Berkeley is working to identify and prioritize cost-effective investments that will result in energy savings for the district.  And he’ll develop plans to fund and implement those projects.  He’s part of the EDF’s Climate Corps, a summer fellowship program that places specially trained master’s degree students with select organizations to identify energy-savings opportunities.

Dave Bishop, director of building services for the district, says they were approached by the Staples Corporation earlier this year and asked if they’d be interested in a grant to take part in the program.

He did some research and found that the program could have a big impact at a time when the district is working to redefine its energy policy.

According to Bishop, Covis is working to determine how the district can improve its current policies and procedures.  The final product will be a thesis, which Bishop believes will benefit the district.

"I then as the district get to benchmark against all of the other EDF fellows that are working across the country, so we will be able to share data and find out what other people are finding and how we compare to them," he said.

He hopes the end result will be a clearly defined pathway for the district to reduce its carbon footprint and energy consumption.  The goal is a ten percent reduction in energy costs.  The district’s energy budget is roughly $4.7 million, so ten percent would be about half a million dollars in savings.

Things that likely will end up in the district’s energy saving plans include checklists for cutting costs.

"Where you shut down your running water, spigots outside, irrigation and things like that.  We'll also have a checklist for the folks in our buildings, our building administrators, to make certain that all of the appliances are unplugged, and we'll have a backup system where our preventive maintenance crew will come in behind and make certain that these things have been taken off when they're in there doing other business," he said.

He says the district has been working since February to redefine its energy policy.  According to Bishop, having a fresh set of eyes should prove extremely valuable.

For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.