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District makes strides in energy efficiency

GUSD designated as an ENERGY STAR leader and top performer.

January 18, 2011|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com

Glendale Unified has reduced its energy use at 30 facilities by about 18% since August 2008, when the district adopted a conservation policy that included a ban on small appliances.

The ban on things like coffeepots and small fridges didn't sit well with some teachers at the time, who said the appliances helped keep their work spaces livable. But since then, the policy, which also included rules for turning off lights and machines overnight, has translated into significant energy savings, officials reported.

The EPA and Department of Energy today are scheduled to honor the district as a top performer in the arena of cutting energy use.

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"I think that with more awareness, with students and staff understanding and seeing all around how we need to be stewards of our energy, that [it] can only get better," said John Fenton, head of district facilities and operations.

Glendale Unified applied for the top performer designation in the ENERGY STAR program, which is assessed by comparing a peer group of buildings across the nation.

The water and energy conservation guidelines adopted by the school board in August 2008 include turning off lights and fans when leaving a room, turning off office machines overnight and closing blinds and drapes to better regulate temperatures.

The policies also call for reducing the use of power during high-peak hours and cutting equipment and lighting use when a building is closed. Officials also reviewed energy and water use for administrative operations, landscaping, transportation, food services and educational programming.

"We have identified at each of the school sites ways to be more efficient," school board President Greg Krikorian said. "We set our own goals within goals. We found areas where we could work better with Glendale Water & Power and Edison."

Even with the energy savings, the escalating cost of utilities has erased any financial gain, Krikorian said.

But the efforts have helped to keep utility costs from spiking even more dramatically.

"It has been a mindset now in our school sites to be more conscious of this, to make more of an effort to control utility costs," Krikorian said.

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