Start Small But Think Big

· Take inventory to find out how many of these ideas you currently employ.

· Create a priority list of needed projects.

· Account for available and alternative funding opportunities.

· Develop measurable goals and outcomes.

· Analyze and record data, pre- and post-reductions.

· Determine the major players and stakeholders, and how improvements may affect them.

Before implementing a plan, it is also recommended you consult maintenance personnel. It is likely they will be able to find, and in many cases install, the correct materials for the project. Additionally, maintenance staff may be a good sounding board to determine whether a project is feasible. Lastly, since maintenance personnel usually open and close buildings, keeping them in the loop will only add to the likelihood of a successful energy-reduction plan.

Will these solutions make a difference in operations? By just picking some of the low-hanging fruit (keeping timers current, updating thermostats, and getting staff involved), you should see a difference. If you like what you see, invest in other energy-reduction technologies (room/snack machine occupancy sensors, thermostat lock boxes, remote-control lighting systems). There are numerous “green” grants available to offset the cost of these improvements. Local libraries and a brief internet search will pull up more grants than you can possibly fill out.

Ultimately, it is how the list is used that will determine the benefits. Only by changing the mindset within your workgroup, implementing an energy reduction plan, and staying the course, will you see a marked and consistent improvement in energy consumption. Being somewhat obsessed about it won’t hurt either.

Special thanks to all the individuals, groups and organizations who helped develop this list, particularly: Alice Eastman and the IPRA Environmental Committee; Alan Nogee, Director of the Clean Energy program, UCS; Anne McKibbin, Policy Manager, Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance: and Jennifer Schafer, President of Cascade Associates.

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