Macon Schools get energy audit

The Macon County School System, already operating with a bare bones budget, can expect $50,000 in added energy costs next year due rising utility rates.

A recent energy audit, however, is providing some insight on how the school could save on energy costs.

The schools energy audit was conducted recently by Reid Conway, energy manager, with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Conway presented his findings to the board of education during their October meeting.

Conway said Macon County Schools could see as much as $50,000 in added electrical costs next year because of the rising Duke Energy rates.

His advice to school leaders included low to no-cost options that could aggregate into larger energy savings for the district.

Conway suggested replacing incandescent lights with LEDs, converting fuel oil to natural gas, installing timers on water heaters, and replacing weather stripping throughout the facilities.

Additionally, Conway said unnecessary plug loads were eating up energy costs—especially at Franklin High School. He found several small, inefficient appliances, such as refrigerators, toaster oven, and space heaters, throughout the building that are adding up.

“These things cost you—per heater—about $20 a month. These little refrigerators run anywhere from$50 to $100 a year, per refrigerator.”

In closing, he suggested some actions the schools could take to contain energy costs, “Unnecessary plug load; an energy policy enforced by the principals. We’d like to see energy teams at each school to continue to try identify this stuff and see if there are other ways to save—and also energy education.”

Conway said he has provided school officials with resources to better track utilities.