Broken Arrow Schools Work To Reduce Energy Costs

Thursday, September 6th 2018, 6:14 pm

Broken Arrow Public Schools found a way to save money for the classroom.

They're doing it by saving money in the classroom.

Arrowhead Elementary is one of the district's oldest buildings, but over the years through renovation and innovation, it's become one of the most energy-efficient buildings they have.

The school dates back to 1970 and as children have come through the halls and graduated from the classrooms, the science of efficiency has made the school a model of energy savings.

“We're in the top 25% most energy efficient buildings in the nation,” said Broken Arrow Schools Energy Specialist Jadon Dykes. 

Dykes knows because he monitors every aspect of energy to figure out ways to use less.

“It looks at electricity, water, natural gas,” Dykes said. 

With a laptop tied into every system in the building and every building in Broken Arrow Schools, he can monitor where energy is being used to see possibly when it could be saved.

“June of this year, it's a little over $1,600,” Dykes said. 

That's the savings for one month, in one building.

A network of sensors monitor what's happening and better thermostats control the air conditioning, the biggest part of energy costs.

It helps that bond money has paid for better lighting and newer air conditioners, but all of the savings come through changes in behavior; encouraging teachers to turn out the lights and turning off the air when it's not needed.

“We can save all the energy in the world, but if we're making people uncomfortable, it's not a very good program,” Dykes said. 

One of the keys is the "override" that lets staff control the system briefly, but the bigger influence is the motivation to save and little rewards for the effort that's changed behavior and saved the district almost $800,000 in the last 16 months.