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School district earns awards for energy savings

CARLSBAD — Carlsbad Unified School District’s energy conservation program has achieved a 20 percent decrease and saved $528,046 in electricity, gas and water usage during 18 months since its inception in March 2009. As a result, CUSD has become one of only 60 districts in California to qualify as an Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star Partner.
Energy usage has plummeted at all CUSD sites, resulting in a reduction of 9,408 MMBTU; this is the equivalent of 142 passenger cars not being driven for one year or 20,205 tree seedlings growing for 10 years. The massive energy savings are the result of two components. One involves board-approved hardware/equipment policy changes such as automatic nightly PC shutdowns. The other focuses on behavioral modification on the part of staff to use energy wisely and conserve whenever possible.
Thanks to both components, the district achieved more than a 41-percent-cost/square-foot reduction, earning schools Energy Star plaques. Carlsbad High School showed the largest decrease, from $1.929 to $1.219. It scored 97 out of a possible 100 points on an Energy Star rating. “All of us have joined together and worked hard to conserve,” counselor Norma Fahlstrom said. “It’s exciting to see that our efforts have paid off.”
The ambitious program operates under an Energy Conservation Board Policy coordinated by Energy Conservation Manager Darin Vey and implemented using Energy Education’s Transformational Energy Management process.
Magnolia Elementary showed a cost/square-foot reduction from $1.375 to $0.858.
“We reduced energy use on campus by more than 64 percent compared with the national average for a school facility of our size,” Principal Jimmy Hines said. “We make a conscious effort to conserve energy at every opportunity. Lighting is turned off in classrooms when not in use. Refrigerators are unplugged and thawed-out for extended weekends and holidays. We help students understand the importance of energy conservation and employ their assistance in ensuring we run an energy-efficient campus.”
For more information about the district’s conservation program, a team effort in which all staff energetically participate, visit or e-mail