Energy Management – A necessity not a luxury in the 21st Century
Final Step – Development of Your Energy Management Plan

By: Lorenz (Larry) Schoff,PE,Energy Efficient Solution - Tuesday, June 6, 2006

In the first part of this series of articles on Energy Management – Initial Steps to Success – I reviewed historical circumstances which lead school boards and administrators to look more favorably on Energy Management as a necessity in today’s social, environmental and economic climate. It addressed the importance of energy management and described what is meant by "energy management." The second part of this series of articles on Energy Management – Implementation of the Policy and Establishment of a Baseline -- addressed the key elements that must be developed before an energy management plan can be developed and implemented.

Identification of Little Inefficiencies costing Big Bucks

In the process of developing your energy management plan and accomplishing an energy audit of your facilities, you should be aware of the many unseen and overlooked energy inefficiencies which exist in your facilities that account for a significant amount of wasted energy. The U.S. Department of Energy has determined that at least 25% of all energy consumed in a school facility is due to energy inefficiency. The following are some of inefficiency which adds to this 25%: 1) dry transformers; 2) location of light switches; 3) hallway lights; 4) plug loads and personal appliances; and 5) phantom loads.

Energy Efficient Dry Transformers -- Schools built or remodeled since the late 1960’s probably have several dry transformers that transform the 480/277 Volts entering the building from the utility transformer to the 120/208 volt power using in outlets throughout the building. These transformers range in size from 15KVA to over 300 KVA and are placed in either mechanical rooms or electrical closets behind closed doors. The U.S. DOE estimates that approximately 40 million dry transformers exist in all building types in the nation.  A typical 75 KVA transformer uses around 880 watts to energize the coil. The U.S. DOE is establishing standards for energy efficient transformers. An energy efficient transformer will reduce power to energize its coil down to 180 watts saving 700 watts per hour. This means that one energy saving transformer in a school could save over 300,000 kWh in 50 years. The U.S. DOE estimates if dry transformers were replaced with energy saving transformers the energy saved would be more than 60-80 billion kWh, a cost savings of $6 billion or more. This amounts to about 9 days of electrical generation in the country.

A typical high school has between 12-20 dry transformers. This means that about 110,000 to 160,000 kWh is wasted annually. The question is simple: Which would you rather operate for 50 years 24 hours a day every day of the year, eight 100 watt bulbs or one 100 watt bulb? The answer is a no brainier. How many 100 watt light bulbs are you burning 24 hours a day in your district?

The U.S. Department of Energy is adopting a new standard for energy efficient transformers which will have an efficiency of 98.6% and have energy losses 30% less than the current standard known at TP-1. The new designation for the energy saving transformer is CSL-3.

Light Switches and Hall Lights -- The 21st Century standard is to specify T-8 fluorescent light fixtures with T-5 fluorescent light fixtures having increased applications. Placement of light switches in classroom and other areas where multi-light circuits are designed are in the 20th century, light switches are placed at the entry door. Placing all switches at the door insures that all switches will be turned on when someone enters. Only one light switch should be placed at the door with the others placed diagonally from the door entrance.

In most schools in our nation, hallway lights run from 12-18 hours a day. The hallway lights consume about 15-20% of the electrical energy used for lighting. The hallways have students or staff in the hallways probably less than 5 hours a day when full lighting is necessary. Most hallways have several of the fixtures on a 24/7 circuit for emergency lighting. When halls are not fully occupied these fixtures can provide adequate lighting. It is recommended in each segment of hallways, occupancy sensors be placed on those fixtures not on a 24/7 circuit. Doing this could reduce energy consumption from current levels from 50-60% or more.

Plug and Phantom Loads -- With the introduction of computers into the classrooms in the 1990’s the avalanche of plug loads in schools began and it continues to grow daily. Plug loads account for up to 25% of the electrical energy consumed in an educational facility. Plug loads include educational tools and delivery systems like TV’s, VCR’s/DVD players, computers, printers, scanners, projectors, and office equipment, but also include personal items brought into the classroom/school like coffee makers, microwaves, personal refrigerators, heaters, popcorn poppers, toaster ovens and task lighting. These personal items can account for 25% or more of the total plug load. Reduction in personal plug load can best be controlled through the adoption of a school board policy on personal appliances.

Any electronic equipment plugged into outlets which has an instant on, has a digital or LED clock, or has a small transformer to provide Direct Current (DC) power to operate contain a Phantom Energy Load. These devices consume between 1 and 25 watts/hour, every hour they are plugged in and not in use. With thousands of devices in a school district, thousands of KWH of electricity is being consumed without educational benefit. Use power strips to connect Phantom load devices to a power source and the devices can be disconnected with ease – a switch -- eliminating the Phantom Load. For example, the VCR placed in a classroom has been flashing “12:00 am” since it was installed four years ago. How many use the clock anyway? The only time it has not been flashing is when a power outage occurred last winter. This is a prime example of an electronic device in today’s classrooms which consume energy, Phantom Load, when the switch indicates it is off. What has been the cost for flashing these four years? $11. How many of these do you have in your district? A plug load and phantom load survey should be accomplished to establish the potential that exists.

Development of Your Energy Management Plan

With the approval of a school board energy policy as outlined in the first and second article of this series, the implementation of the policy through the establishment of a district-wide regulation and a baseline for each facility, and you have surveyed plug and phantom loads, you are now ready to develop your energy management plan.

All the information gathered district-wide and for each facility will have an impact on the determination of energy goals and specific targets of the Energy Management plan. The energy management plan should contain the following elements:

  1. Based on the Board Policy, establish a goal for the program and establish objectives

  2. Designate a responsible individual and means of implementing the program – an Energy Management Team

  3. Establish a checklist for Administrators, Instructional Personnel and Operators

  4. Obtain an energy education program or materials for use by instructional personnel in the day to day program to the students

  5. Establish energy awareness training for all school personnel

  6. Establish an evaluation program and means of celebrating success

Establishment of Goals and Objectives
Remember, goals should be specific, realistic and achievable.  Objectives become your roadmap to achieving each of the goals. Below is an example:

Goals of this plan are:

a. To reduce energy consumption in each school facility by at least (___)% at the end of the 20ab- 20ac school year and maintain the achieved level of consumption for five years after attainment. Baseline to be established at the 20wx-20wy school year.

b. Establish an energy awareness training program and maintain it for all School employees through periodic training

c. Obtain and make available energy education materials for all teachers for incorporation into their subject matter

  • Objectives to achieve energy reduction Goal:

a. Achieve at least a (__)% reduction in energy consumption from the established baseline in at least (__)% of the schools by the end of the 20wz-20wd school year

b. Achieve at least a (__)% reduction in energy consumption from the established baseline in at least (__)% of the schools by the end of the 20wd-20we school year

  • Objectives to achieve an energy awareness training program for Personnel:

a. Develop, test, and evaluate an energy awareness training program during 20wz-20wv school year

b. Implement to all _____PS employees during the 20wx-20wy School Year

  • Objectives to achieve the classroom energy education element:

a. Identify and evaluation existing energy education materials using instructional personnel for the selection during the 20wy –20wz School Year

b. Achieve 50% usage in classrooms by the 20xy-20xz School year


  • Establish and fund an energy manager position and area energy coordinators

  • Establish and Energy Management Team of all segments of the school community

  • ……………………………………………………………………………………………………

  • Adopt a set of High Performance/Green Design guidelines for use in the design and construction of new and renovation of existing school facilities


  • Develop checklists for all segments of the school community for use on daily energy conservation actions

  • Develop checklists for special circumstances to control energy usage

Energy Awareness Training and Education

  • Develop Energy Awareness training programs to support stated objectives

  • Obtain and Survey existing Energy Education Programs and select materials to achieve the stated objectives

Energy Conservation Measures

As the results of energy audits and facility/systems inspections, develop an energy conservation measures project list in conjunction with the capital projects. Use energy conservation measures list provided from existing resources

Evaluation/Re-evaluation of Plan and Measurement of Success

  • Develop a program to evaluate the success of the overall program and to measure the success of the EMP


  • Develop a program for recognition of success in the program both internally and externally

  • The community should be informed on a continually basis of the energy management program that exists, what has been accomplished, by who and how they could take advantage of the action taken to reduce their own energy bills

Remember, the plan is a living document.  Through evaluation and measurement the plan will be updated to reflect changing conditions and successes or failures.

Energy Management Tools

There are tools available to assist with the accomplishment of an energy management plan: 1) Building Management Systems (BMS) and 2) Utility Management programs. BMS’s first were known as energy management controls systems (EMCS), controlling the HVAC systems in a building with varied degrees of complexity – turning units on and off at preset times and/or temperatures, to measuring conditions both inside and outside the building and using logic, making adjustment of temperatures, run times and other controlling factors. Today’s BMS not only controls the HVAC systems but now can control lighting systems in the building along with other energy consuming systems.

Utility Management programs in schools have been available since the mid-80’s with the emphasis being placed on establishment of baselines and finding trends in energy use. Analysis of the data available has resulted in reaction to a need that may be several months old. This is due to the fact that data is input and analysis done after the bills are received and input into the program. With the technology today for utility meters and sub-meter systems, and the hardware and software available, instantaneous input can be obtained, input and analyzed and correction reaction take place to correct an inefficiency systems or operation, thus reducing overall energy use and expense for the schools.

Your EMP has been developed and tools are available to assist you in its accomplishment. Now the challenge is to implement it. Successful implementation can only occur with the full support of your educational community, including the school board and the administration. The foundation of this support will be through Energy Awareness / Energy Education. Education is essential in today’s global economy for all to know and understand that Energy Management is – A necessity not a luxury in the 21st Century for educational facilities.

If you would like an electronic copy of a generic energy management plan or other documents included in previous articles in this series, contact L. V. Schoff at


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