Over the past 12 years, Los Alamos Public Schools (LAPS) has partnered with Cenergistics and, in that time, has saved over $2 million in utility costs. Curtis Terrill, a science teacher at Los Alamos Middle School, has been a classroom teacher by day and Energy Specialist by night for five years.
“Money saved on our utility bills equals more dollars for our classrooms,” Terrill said. “Our energy conscious district employees make our program a success.”
With the continually rising rates for gas and electricity over the past 12 years, LAPS searched for ways to combat higher energy costs and direct funding to the classroom. During this time, projects to help reduce energy consumption were completed at the High School, Middle School and Aspen Elementary.
Absolutely crucial to the program has been community support for school improvement Bonds. Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus said: “we extend thanks and appreciation to home owners and business leaders in Los Alamos.”
For example, over the summer, a 40-year-old boiler at Piñon Elementary was replaced using Bond funds. There are now two rooftop units at Piñon that heat and cool smaller areas. This means that the entire campus does not have to be at the same temperature, and heated and chilled air can be sent to the areas where it is needed.
LAPS maintenance workers play a huge role in keeping costs down. Employees Tom Castillo and Joe Vigil work on preventative maintenance to head off problems before they happen. The support received from the administration is also critical to maintaining an effective program. The focus of this program is not to ask students and staff to be uncomfortable in their environment, but rather reduce energy consumption when it is not needed.
LAPS will continue to consider energy costs in every project it undertakes.