Energy Audit Shows Progress

Earlier this year, Dimond was singled out as one of the schools in the Anchorage School District with above-average energy usage. Twenty-seven schools were identified to participate in an audit that would determine how efficient the schools were with their energy saving policies. Jon Paxton, a member of the energy conservation program, was the representative that audited Dimond High School on February 17, 2010. And Dimond’s energy conservation has improved significantly since last year. “The audit is meant to be snapshot in time,” says Paxton. “It’s how Dimond was doing that day…I think you’ll find Dimond did pretty well.” Paxton had many positive observations. “The librarian [Suzanne Metcalfe] minimizes the ‘on’ time for the hot laminator to Thursdays only, thus saving a lot of energy.” He also noted that “A few rooms had only task lighting on, which saves a lot of energy.” Energy consumption for a large school like Dimond is going to be large, but Dimond is doing a lot to go green. While Dimond is doing a lot to improve their energy consumption there’s still a lot to be done. Service High School received $6,000- $7,000 for increased energy savings at their school. “I’ve mentioned this as an incentive,” says Guyett. Paxton says that one big thing Dimond can do is refrigerator consolidation. Cheryl Guyett, Dimond’s principal, also talked about mini-refrigerators as a source of energy usage. Paxton also mentioned that the computers in the main office were turned off over major breaks, such as winter or spring break. Paxton had many suggestions for more things Dimond High School can do to improve energy conservation, including always monitoring the exterior doors to ensure that they are shut. “One of the big things that’s contributing to wasted energy are gaps in the tops of the doors,” says Guyett. “If we could fix that it would make a big difference.” The audit from Paxton also came with a list of no-cost, energy-saving tips for lighting, heating and electric equipment. These tips were things such as cleaning light bulbs and lighting fixtures to increase light output, and setting the thermostat 10 degrees lower during the night. In terms of things students can do, Paxton says they can apply a lot of these same principles at home. “The biggest thing students can help with is making sure the printers are turned on and off,” says Guyett. Overall, Dimond seems like it is on the way to becoming a greener, more efficient school. “It’s a lot of little things that add up,” says Paxton, “It’s a nickel, but it can be a nickel a million times over.”