Florida Schools Launch Online Energy Monitoring

Florida Schools Launch Online Energy Monitoring

U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham today joined forces with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Orange County Public Schools and Walt Disney World Co., to launch a new energy-savings initiative that helps schools reduce utility bills and save millions of dollars. Secretary Abraham unveiled the nation’s first online “Utility Report Card” at Citrus Elementary School in Ocoee.

“The ability to pinpoint energy use in our Nation’s schools will give school districts the tool to assess where they can save energy, and save money,” Secretary Abraham said. “Not only will energy be saved, the students will have the opportunity to learn more about the cost of energy and smart energy use.”

Florida’s schools are the first in the nation to demonstrate the web-based “Utility Report Card,” which tracks, evaluates and charts energy consumption in schools. First implemented by Walt Disney World Resort to track energy consumption throughout the parks and resorts, the modified software tool allows school districts to pinpoint energy use and expenditures.

“Currently Orange County Public Schools spends about $55 million a year on energy,” said Orange County School Board Chairman Bert Carrier. “Ultimately, our goal is to direct our limited resources where they are most needed -- in the classrooms.”

The information system helps school districts to monitor energy used by individual schools during everyday activities, allowing districts to implement operation and maintenance changes to reduce consumption. Teachers and students can also examine on-line data to learn more about smart energy use and efficiency as a complement to the U.S. Department of Energy’s EnergySmart Schools education program.

The pilot program for Orange County Schools was funded by the Florida Energy Office, which launched an initiative last year to reduce energy consumption by government and save taxpayers dollars. The State’s energy-saving program focuses on installing energy-efficient technology, modifying behavior to use resources wisely and encouraging government’s use of hybrid vehicles.

“Using energy wisely protects resources, protects the environment and saves money,” said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Colleen M. Castille. “The Report Card shows students how their individual actions can preserve resources, and challenges them to make a difference both in their schools and homes.”

The “Utility Report Card,” is available online.