Aaron Earls,
Building Manager

Dedication and Hard Work Generate Outstanding Energy Savings

Before 2015’s Winter Break Shutdown with ENERGY STAR, Building Managers and their assigned RCM Interns discussed 2014’s Interval Data and brainstormed ways to improve upon last year’s performance. This helped kick-start energy saving across the district and strengthened the collaborative relationship between RCM Interns and Building Managers.

This relationship is part of the success story of Kenton County’s energy savings this year. “It’s been fun to learn from the building managers about how a building works, and how small actions can make a real difference,” shared Pranay, RCM intern and junior at a high School in Washington State. “And I’m amazed by the dedication these building managers show to reducing energy.”

Immediately after the successful 2015 Thanksgiving Break Shutdown, in the weeks leading up to the Winter Break Shutdown, Pranay held weekly calls with Aaron Earls, plant manager at River Ridge Elementary. In these calls the two discussed the building’s performance and capacity for savings over Winter Break. Aaron taught Pranay the inner workings of the building while Pranay provided Aaron the data highlighting River Ridge’s potential for success.

Pranay shares that he first became aware of Aaron’s dedication in their first call, after they discovered Thursday morning wouldn’t work for their schedules each week. When Aaron suggested to meet on a Saturday, the two spent almost an hour discussing Aaron’s success in reducing energy usage at his school over Thanksgiving (the results of his hard work are represented in the graph below).

River Ridge’s performance over Thanksgiving break in 2014 is in red, while performance over Thanksgiving Break in 2015 is in dark blue, showing an 18% reduction in energy use from Tuesday to Sunday of Thanksgiving Break. The district saved $250 total, hitting the Target Baseload for 5 days and even dropping 14kW below the Target Baseload for 2 days.

Pranay and Aaron used their success over Thanksgiving to understand their potential for the 2015 Winter Break Shutdown. The graph below compares Thanksgiving 2015 to Christmas 2014, which shows 18% less energy used over Thanksgiving, saving $131. Thanksgiving’s performance became the target for a successful Winter Break Shutdown, since the improvements made over Thanksgiving Break would be maintained and even improved upon.

“Winter break shutdown with an intern can open your eyes a bit more,” said Aaron. “You want to do better since you know someone else is watching and will want to talk to you about it! And it was nice to be able to go over the reports so quickly so we could see how we were doing.”

Furthermore, River Ridge’s performance over the 2015 Winter Break Shutdown was the best yet. In the days leading up to Shutdown, Aaron got the principal’s support in encouraging all teachers to do their part and unplug their personal devices, which reduced the impact of any teacher resistance.

“It’s obvious that our building managers are constantly trying to reduce energy. It was the coolest thing how Aaron took small steps and set off a chain reaction, getting the teachers and then the students to turn off lights and unplug appliances right before the Break.”

Ultimately, Aaron’s initiatives that motivated teachers saved River Ridge a whopping 31% in energy use compared to 2014’s Christmas Break. This generated an astounding $986 in cost savings and paved the way for the continued improvement in energy performance.