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How 1 School District Maximized Energy Savings During COVID-19

May 19, 2020

Wylie ISD Leverages Extended Shutdown Protocols To Maximize Energy Savings During Pandemic

Focusing on sustainability and energy efficiency, the Modern Energy Management podcast invites innovators to discuss energy best practices that go beyond the meter. In this episode, we spoke with Marcia Coker of Wylie Independent School District (Wylie ISD) to learn how the district has leveraged its extended shutdown protocols to maximize energy savings during the school closure resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

Marcia is the Facilities Manager at Wylie Independent School District, located approximately 25 miles northeast of Dallas. Serving more than 17,000 students, Wylie ISD, like many schools across the country, recently closed its doors for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. While a school closures of this nature is unprecedented, Marcia has enabled the district to save thousands in energy costs through modern energy management practices implemented during her tenure with the district.

Wylie ISD Closes For Remainder Of 2019-2020 School Year

At the end of March, while students were still on Spring Break, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas issued an executive order limiting public gatherings to 10 people, shutting down schools, and limiting other local business activities, in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. As a result of the executive order, Wylie ISD made the decision to remain closed through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Accordingly, occupancy patterns across the district’s building portfolio, which covers 41 square miles and includes 20 campuses and 4 auxiliary buildings, have dramatically shifted as most buildings sit empty.

How Wylie ISD Benefited From Extended Shutdown Protocols

The decision to close Wylie ISD came at an opportune time with respect to energy management. Marcia notes that because the students were on Spring Break, most buildings across the district had already been ‘powered down’ by implementing extended shutdown protocols that are specific to each building. The measures, which are generally used during school holidays, include the use of remote monitoring technology and communication tools such as checklists that are shared with teachers to ensure that lights are turned off and that classroom equipment is unplugged.

Having gone through the extended shutdown protocols, Marcia states that the district’s buildings were already prepped to be in the lowest possible power consumption mode when the closure decision was made. Because of the extended shutdown protocols and the ability to continuously monitor building performance, Marcia and her team have achieved more than a 30 percent year-over-year reduction, saving the district more than $25,000 in energy costs.

Using Energy Savings to Invest in Remote Learning

Like many school districts across the country, Wylie ISD was caught off guard by the need to quickly scale remote learning opportunities for its students. As Wylie ISD has learned, doing so effectively is certainly not without cost. In a time where everything seems a bit turned upside down, Marcia proudly shares that the money the district has saved as a result of her modern energy management practices has already been reinvested to support remote learning. Marcia states that it is very powerful to be able to demonstrate fiscal responsibility to taxpayers and that by saving money from the utility budget that the district can now put additional chrome books into student hands.

Simplify Remotely Accessing Your Building Data With BuildingOS

The ability to remotely monitor building performance and effectively communicate key metrics with stakeholders is hugely important for energy management in an era of extended school closures. However, accessing your school district’s building data in one place is not always easy. In addition to having multiple utility accounts and buildings of various ages and size, school districts also have a varying degree of data available from a wide range of assets and building management systems. Seamlessly integrating data from all your building systems is where we come in. BuildingOS is a comprehensive software platform that centralizes all of your utility and building systems data, allowing you to access it remotely and communicate with interested stakeholders. Want to see how BuildingOS can help your facility management team monitor your district’s portfolio remotely? Contact us today!