WASHINGTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT (WESD)
In 2008, with a depressed economy, lowering property tax values, and a reduction in state funds to support education, WESD launched an initiative to reduce energy use and in turn, pay fewer dollars to utility companies. The District's electric spend was $4.5 million annually and growing as a result of rising energy costs. Three distinct program phases were identified and implemented over 5 years:
- An Energy Behavior Management program in years one and two
- Energy audits to identify energy savings opportunities with a pay back of three years or less
- Exploration of new technologies including alternative energy
32 school campuses and 3 support facilities, which equates to approximately 3 million square feet of space under roof. The District serves a diverse population of 23,500 students. In FY2011, two campuses additions were opened at 2 schools.
Pierce Energy Planning (PEP) believes two qualities cultivate an ongoing sustainable environment in schools;
- Sharing the savings received
- Celebrating success
This was exemplified in FY2011. WESD was scheduled to take 3 furlough days to balance the budget. The Superintendent, in November of the same year, notified 3,200 staff that due directly to their energy initiatives and the dollar savings that resulted, the furlough would be cancelled. In addition to this amazing news, numerous awards and recognition has been given to the District for their efforts and success.
24-month cumulative reduction through behavior change only of approximately 17,000,000 kWh (26%)
Natural gas reduction by 8,607 therms
A reduction in solid waste contract from $250,000 to $125,000
WESD earned approximately $80,000 by selling recycled goods that in the past were thrown in the trash
Energy Star buildings rating increased from a composite score 46, on a scale of 1 to 100, to a score of 62 (25 of the 35 campuses have received Energy Star recognition since 2008 or 71%)