South Colonie masthead logo
South Colonie Central School District masthead logo
Our Schools navigation headingclick to visit Colonie Central High School home pageclick to visit Lisha Kill Middle School home pageclick to visit Sand Creek Middle School home pageclick to visit Forest Park Elementary home pageclick to visit Roessleville Elementary home pageclick to visit Saddlewood Elementary home pageclick to visit Shaker Road Elementary home pageclick to visit Veeder Elementary home page
Energy Educator Column

Energy Educator lightbulbDress Warmly and Bring Your Checkbook

This is what employees of some school districts are being told. In fact my sister, who is a teacher near West Point, told me her district started a new energy program and students and employees were told to dress warmer. I was surprised to hear this, but found it to be more common than I thought.

Later, I spoke to my brother-in-law, who is an administrator in Pittsburgh City Schools. Their district is proposing these same changes but going one step further by charging employees for any appliance (such as a classroom refrigerator) they have. In the course of the past few months, I have read several different articles in the Times Union naming local districts that are doing the same.

The philosophy in our district has always been to consciously conserve energy without interfering with the educational process. This was accomplished by asking you to shut down equipment when not in use. You have stepped up to the plate. Consider that last school year we avoided over $355,000 in energy costs. Often times when people hear this I have to explain to them that this does not mean we have that much extra money sitting around.

What this means is that if we had used the same amount of energy this past school year that we did in 2000-2001 (our base-year), we would have spent $355,000 more than what we actually did. With energy prices continually going up, our expenditures for energy have gone up even though usage has gone down.

Increasing energy costs have left many districts scrambling to make ends meet. Their employees are being told to dress warmer in the winter because they are lowering thermostats, and cooler in the summer, when the air-conditioning temperatures will be raised. The difference between these districts and ours is that these changes are being imposed on the employees as a reactive measure, rather than the employees being empowered to manage their own usage. Our district was proactive and began a program when no one else in the area had one.

We created a plan, which gives employees the power to make a difference. Because of this foresight and your actions, ours is a district to be followed, rather than one that follows others.