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Custodial staff making Delta schools greener

Energy conservation efforts continue to expand
Custodians use energy dashboards to determine which areas of a school are using lots of electricity, heat and water.

Delta school district custodial staff recently gathered for a professional development afternoon geared at environmental initiatives in local schools.

"Our custodians really care about energy conservation in our schools," said Steve Smoroden, manager of facility services for the district. "Every day they are committed to helping us lower energy use and reduce our carbon footprint."

In addition to the daily work of making sure lights are turned off, appliances are unplugged, windows and doors are closed, and blinds are shut, custodians also perform energy audits and provide valuable feedback and ideas for increased conservation.

At the professional development session, they discussed energy audit results, made note of the biggest culprits of items left on, brainstormed ideas for increased conservation efforts, reviewed communication regarding energy conservation and practiced using energy dashboards.

The dashboards provide real-time information about energy use in schools, allowing custodians to see what areas are using lots of electricity, heat and water at any given time.

At the session it was determined all staff need to play closer attention to certain items that are regularly left on, including coffee makers, microwaves and computers.

"It's really important that every staff member pays attention to his or her energy use," said Debra Eng, the district's energy manager. "While our school district has actually been incredibly successful in our energy conservation efforts, already reducing our use by more than 30 per cent over the past decade, we can do more." Custodial staff will soon be conducting another appliance audit to see how many non-district issued appliances are in schools. Also, there will be holiday shutdown campaigns geared at making sure all appliances in schools are turned off and unplugged, that lights are all turned off, and that windows and blinds are shut before schools are closed for holiday breaks.