Officials celebrate impact of school energy managers project as statewide initiative winds down; nearly $13 million in savings identified

Officials of KSBA, the Beshear administration and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday feted local energy managers Monday night in Lexington for their work in 130 school districts over the past two years that has produced immediate and long-term savings now nearing the $13 million mark.

The reception honored local and state agency partners in SEMP (School Energy Managers Project), an initiative funded through federal stimulus dollars that expire this spring. Thirty-five energy managers and two energy efficiency coordinators were hired by coalitions of school systems since 2010. SEMP has been a partnership between the districts, KSBA and the state Department of Energy Development and Independence (DEDI).

When KSBA, DEDI and school districts partnered to hire energy managers, we knew there were opportunities to save money and energy. You have certainly proved that fact,” KSBA Executive Director Bill Scott said. “Your expertise, your flexibility to learn how to work in schools, and your hard work have resulted in more than $12.7 million in savings.

“The impact of creating a statewide network of school energy managers has been significant. It’s taken everyone in this room, working together, sharing ideas, frustrations and building on the best practices identified,” he said.

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters told attendees that SEMP has proven to be an important part of Gov. Steve Beshear’s work in energy, the economy and the environment.

“Much effort has been placed on a vision of Intelligent Energy Choices for Kentucky’s Future, where we focused on the creation of efficient and sustainable energy solutions throughout the state,” Peters said. “What has now occurred in the past two years is amazing. In 2012, the school energy managers – the “boots on the ground” in 130 districts as well as 14 existing districts – initiated a new chapter in energy management in Kentucky. 

“For example, you discovered some schools paying state taxes when they should not have been. You identified schools being charged for utilities in the wrong rate class, resulting in $2 million dollars in annual avoided costs,” the secretary said.

The reception was part of a final two-day training event for school energy managers, covering such areas as thermal imaging technology, construction-related energy calculations and “smart grid” utility management.

Photo Above: Members of the KSBA SEMP team honored Monday night in Lexington are (left to right) Director Ron Willhite, regional coordinators Larry Woods, John Noel and Tim Eaton, administrative manager Jo Ann Rohrback and regional coordinator Martha Casher.

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