Saving money on energy helps LISD keep more of it in the classroom

Saving money on energy helps LISD keep more of it in the classroom
Posted on 09/19/2018

 Supt column

Being good stewards of our energy resources is an ongoing priority for Leander ISD. Doing so helps maximize resources for instruction, so we proactively monitor and invest in our facilities to responsibly manage taxpayer dollars.

Transitioning to energy-efficient light bulbs, motion-sensing lights and low-flow, sensor-activated plumbing fixtures has substantially reduced utility use. A centrally controlled digital programming system for nearly all our schools includes remote access to our facility’s interior and exterior lighting, sports lighting, HVAC control and irrigation control, which uses data collected by our weather stations to better determine watering schedules.

Now we no longer worry about classroom lights accidentally left on over the weekend, the heater running needlessly over winter break or sprinklers running after a big rain. Especially when considering the number of extracurricular activities, after-hours meetings, community and athletic events hosted at LISD facilities by schools, parents, administrators and community groups, this oversight mechanism provides significant utility savings.

Our new schools are constructed with an eye toward energy efficiency, with layouts

that make better use of available space and reduce the number of needed classrooms; insulated tilt-up concrete panels help stabilize interior temperatures and prevent water penetration; and geothermal HVAC systems, which use the ground temperature to provide more than 70 percent of the energy needed to generate air conditioning.

New athletic fields feature artificial turf, which save approximately 50,000 gallons of water per week when compared to natural grass fields during the growing season. All other grass areas use native grasses, which use significantly less water to maintain.

We are also gradually retiring our diesel school buses with greener, more efficient buses that run on propane autogas. These vehicles not only reduce emissions, but they help insulate us against price spikes that can occur during hurricane season.  

These conservation efforts will continue to benefit generations of LISD students and taxpayers. It is important that Leander ISD sets an example of responsible stewardship for our students, and it has the double impact of allowing us to keep resources in the classroom rather than spending it on energy consumption.