Effective O&M Policy in Public Buildings (Text Version)
Ed Londergan: Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us this afternoon for the webinar on effective operations and maintenance in public buildings. My name is Ed Londergan, and I'm with Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships based in Massachusetts. Everybody on the call except for the presenters will be muted for the duration of the webinar, so if you take a look at the bottom of your GoToMeeting dialog box, you should see an area where you can type in questions, or let me know if you have any difficulties, technical difficulties, throughout the presentation.
We'll hold questions till the end, and when you exit the webinar today you'll receive a survey, which we strongly encourage you to fill out. Your feedback is extremely important to us, and will help us plan for future sessions. Now, today, as far as presenters are concerned, besides myself, we have Carolyn Sarno, who is the program manager here at Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships for high-performance buildings area, and Susy Jones, who is an associate in that area, and Carol Chafetz from the - she's the director of operations and environmental affairs for the Newton, Massachusetts, public schools.
Now, before we jump into today's presentation, I'd like to take a minute just to descript the DOE Technical Assistance Program a little further. The Technical Assistance Program is managed by a team in the Department of Energy's Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. And the TAP program provides state, local, and tribal officials the tools and resources needed to implement successful and sustainable clean energy programs.
The effort is aimed at accelerating the implementation of Recovery Act projects and programs, improving their performance, increasing the return on and sustainability of Recover Act investments, and building protracted clean energy capacity at the state, local, and tribal level. From one-on-one assistance to an extensive online resource library to facility of peer exchange of best practices and lessons learned, TAP offers a wide range of resources to serve the needs of state, local, and tribal officials and their staff.
The Technical Assistance Providers can provide short-term, unbiased expertise in a couple different areas: energy efficiency and renewable energy technology, program design and implementation, financing, performance contracting, and state and local building capacity. In addition to providing one-on-one assistance where available and work with grantees at no cost to facilitate peer-to-peer matching, workshops, and training. Now, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships is part of Team 4.
We're comprised of nine energy efficiency organizations from around the country that provide expertise and assistance in plan, design, and implementation. We work closely with each other to fulfill the needs of all grantees, regardless of where they're located. And two examples of what we've done recently are we had a grantee who was considering having energy audits done on three older municipal buildings. They needed more information on how to go about this and what to look for when developing and reviewing RFPs, so we developed a guide on municipal energy audits, which they found very helpful.
Another situation we had was where a grantee which was a large city in the Northeast was part of a citywide energy efficiency effort. They were in the process of putting together a guide for employees. We developed a municipal energy efficiency and conservation policy document for them, which they used and found very helpful also. We also have a blog, and we encourage you to use the blog. It's a platform that allows states, cities, and counties and tribes to connect with technical and program experts and to share best practices. The blog is updated frequently with energy efficiency and renewable energy-related posts.
We encourage you to utilize the blog to ask questions about topical experts, to share your success stories, best practices or lessons learned, and to interact with your peers. Now I'm gonna turn it over to Carolyn Sarno - Carolyn, all yours.
Carolyn Sarno: Thanks, Ed. I'm happy to be here today, and Susy Jones and I are gonna go through a few slides before we get to our featured speaker today, Carol Chafetz. And I just wanted to - I know many of you are probably shaking your heads in your offices. Many of you have probably seen pictures like the one that is on the left - that's a discussion of budget deficits. And then the spirit of Halloween, which just passed: the scary property tax bill. And why this is really important is that we wanna set the framework on energy efficiency and how we've all seen this.
But we can't as communities just keep going back to our taxpayers to ask for more money. And, unfortunately, when utility bills are on the rise and maintenance costs are on the rise, the one thing that often gets cut, along with staff, are your maintenance dollars. And by slashing your operations and maintenance budgets, it doesn't actually improve energy efficiency by not doing it. It doesn't save you money in the long run; it actually is going to cost you money. So what we're hoping today is to be able to provide a framework of strategies and policies that you can implement in your community to take the temporary funding that you have in ARRA and put it in a place for long-term success for energy saving.
So many of you will see existing buildings, generally they don't come with instructions, they come with these: they come with a set of keys, which is really unfortunate, but we really don't have a good handle of our building, our building stock, the energy use within our building. And now I'm gonna turn it over to Susy Jones, who's gonna give you a little more on the framework of today's workshop.
Susy Jones: Thanks a lot. So because most buildings don't come with instructions, you can find ways to operate your buildings more efficiently in the many guides and resources that are out there. So you can take a look at the Federal Energy Management Program, which has an operations and maintenance guide for federal buildings, but there are a lot of great tips in there. You can take a look at the Energy-Smart Schools Program, which also has an operations and maintenance guide.
And then there's lots of great information out there from organizations and nonprofits, such as Clean Air-Cool Planet, which has guidance for communities on everything from calculating their carbon footprint to some information about how to operate and maintain and retrofit historical buildings. So at NEEP - Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership - we worked with the Northeast region to develop a guide, an operations and maintenance guide, specifically for schools, which we're currently adapting for all public buildings.
So it's actually based on the Collaborative for Higher-Performance Schools, or CHPS, protocol for building new schools, so we used that protocol for new schools and adapted it, with many of those same sections. So the same sections you would find in CHPS or in LEED, taking those sections, but really making them useful for existing buildings. So it gives you strategies for making your buildings healthier and more energy and resource-efficient. So the first section of the guide, which we really think of as the foundation for the guide, lays out key policies that buildings and staff occupants can implement to make sure their buildings are being operated and maintained properly.
So before sort of diving into this, we just wanted to say a word about energy efficiency, which really is a key focus of any operations and maintenance plan or policies. So energy efficiency really goes way beyond just energy conservation, which means turning off the light, turning back the heat, or doing without energy. But efficiency really means being smarter about how we use our energy. So we can get exactly what we need, whether it's heat or air conditioning, light, computing, but by using much less electricity, gas, and other fuels.
So the money that we save on efficiency, we really encourage to then put that towards renewable, or by working on efficiency first, that really makes your investment in renewable more effective. So you're getting the right size system; you're not over-investing in renewable. So again, we really encourage communities to really take a look at efficiency first, and then to use that as the jumping-off point for looking more into renewable energy systems. So today we're gonna talk about some key components of the operations and maintenance plan, which, again, really is a critical way for your community to meet its energy-reduction goal.
So I know most communities have adopted an overarching policy or target to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions or energy use by a certain percentage, whether it's, you know, 10 percent or 20 percent. So these policies and ideas - which you can find in the upcoming guide for public buildings - can really put your existing buildings on the right track. So, you know, first of all, a good plan for operations and maintenance always starts with teamwork, so we'll actually talk more about this later - who should be on the team, what that really means - but again, teamwork really is the first start to any one of these plans.
So the other sections, which you can see up on the screen, include everything from seasonal temperature settings for HVAC - so I know temperature can be a really subjective thing. Some people think the temperature is hot; other people think it's cold. But again, we wanna make sure that temperature controls are always working properly and are kept at levels for peak efficiency. So things like lighting levels, maintenance schedules. We always wanna make sure we do preventative maintenance; it's extremely critical for keeping equipment at peak efficiency.
We'll talk a tiny bit more about that. Guidance on retrofit and construction planning, utility use and procurement, and, as you can see, these sections that are highlighted in blue, such as training, occupant behavior, and benchmarking. That'll really be the focus of today's presentation. We really think those are really the key most important things to be talking about, and all these other sections, you can find more information about.
Carolyn Sarno: Great, thank you, Susy. This is Carolyn again, so just a few words about the importance of training is that many of you probably have systems that look like this within your building - it's an old boiler - that are not in line for replacement, or a very long line for replacement. So in terms of making sure that you are training your building staff to know how to operate these equipment at peak efficiency, to make sure that you're doing preventative maintenance; so that it runs in a more efficient manner, it's critically important.
So you have to train your building staff to know about the systems that they have within the building, but the other part that's critically important is not only having systems like this that are in your building, but new technology, as you are retrofitting your buildings, and you may be using some of your federal dollars to do this now, with new rooftop units or boilers or lighting systems. A lot of these systems now are automated control, so it's no longer a steamfitter or an oil-burner technician who's working on this equipment opening and closing valves.
They're very complex systems. They're often tied back to either a laptop device, or sometimes even a handheld device. So it's critically important that as you're deciding on the systems that you're going to be putting into your building that you make sure that you have the infrastructure in place - the training resources to educate your own team about how to maintain that equipment so it continues to operate at peak efficiency.
Susy Jones: So now I'm just gonna talk a little bit about one of the important policies that you can include as part of your operations and maintenance plan. So this is something we're hearing more and more and more about, really, which is sorta what the occupants are doing inside of the building. So just to start off with, this is what I think is a great quote from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, and they say that "behavior is clearly a cornerstone of energy efficiency.
Behavior affects the purchases we make, the buildings and systems we design, and how we use energy-consuming equipment." So although we now have automatic controls in many buildings, it's still necessary to make sure occupants are aware of how their behaviors affect the energy consumption of the building, whether it's using smart strips or regular power strips, using their space heaters if they're feeling chilly at their cubes, copying, commuting to work, et cetera. So I wanted to review some of the policies that cities and towns have adopted for their occupants.
So again, most policies have the sections that you see in front of you. These are sort of the sections that we see repeated across the cities and towns in terms of how their occupants and staff sorta change their behaviors. So in terms of lighting, you know, simple things like keeping the shades shut at night to prevent heat loss. Heating and cooling, again, things like eliminating those personal space heaters. Water, so when we're thinking about landscaping, you know, we really wanna use native climate-tolerant planting so we're reducing our water consumption.
Transportation - everything from posting "no idling" signs in front of City Hall to making sure those buses aren't idling outside of our schools to carpooling and things like that. Office equipment - you know, there's a lot of great resources out there for making sure you're purchasing the most efficient computers, whether those are Energy Star laptops or what have you, so making sure you're purchasing the most efficient equipment out there. Things like waste and recycling, which really I think we've come a long way on.
We're seeing that generally most buildings have a pretty good or at least a fair recycling policy, so that definitely is sort of a cornerstone to these occupant policies, but we wanna see buildings kinda move beyond the recycling to include some of these other sections. So when developing these occupant policies, of course, you always wanna make sure the employees are sort of part of that process, offering suggestions, giving feedback on how those policies are going in their communities.
And just to give you an example of a city that has sort of adopted and is currently implementing a policy like this - you know, if you have a policy, it's only as good as whether or not the employees are actually following these. The training is a really critical part to having a policy like this. So in the city of Austin, you know, they have a policy that addresses all of those sections we just talked about, and many more sections.
And the way that they get employees up to speed on those is they have an employee training seminar, which just basically provides an overview of climate change, and all the different sections of the policy, what carbon footprint means, et cetera. And then they make this seminar available as part of their city's training curriculum, so when you participate in the training employees actually receive an education credit, which they're required to get 16 hours a year. So by doing this climate protection plan training, they're actually working toward credits.
And one of the things, because there's so many municipal employees, what they're doing is they're training the key employees in each department, and then having those key employees kinda go back to their offices in a kind of train-the-trainer model. And then as of March 2009, Austin's reported that all employees of their municipal and community courts have been trained, 311 operators, and they're really working on making sure that everybody in the municipality is really being trained on all of these policies going forward.
And you can take a look at their website, CoolAustin.org, which has all of their policies up there, and sort of a review of how it's going there.
Carolyn Sarno: Thanks, Susy. So we're now going to move on to our featured speaker, our guest speaker for today, which is Carol Chafetz, who is from the city of Newton, Massachusetts, and the city of Newton has a population of over 85,000. There are 85 public buildings, comprised of 2.5 million square feet, with 22 school buildings that she works in. They have two high performance green schools, so they were one of the first communities in Massachusetts to actually build one, as well as developing the first "stretch code" or "reach code" in the nation, meaning that any of the public buildings or residences that are built in that community have to be built to 20 percent beyond the base building code.
So they were the first in not only Massachusetts, but the nation, to do this, and there are now 51 in the state of Massachusetts, so. Carol Chafetz is presently the director of operations, environmental affairs, for Newton, Mass, public schools. She has held this position for ten years, and has a Bachelor's in Psychology from Framingham State College, and a Master's degree from Tufts University in Urban Environmental Policy and Planning. Prior to working with the school department, she worked as a city planner in both the city of Newton and the city of Framingham, Massachusetts.
In her private life, Carol assists her husband with custom building of sustainable homes, including those with geothermal heating, and is an elected member of the Westwood, Massachusetts, planning board. She is an avid photographer, and of late, she sails a Herreshoff 12 Â½ sailboat. So take it away, Carol.
Carol Chafetz: Good afternoon, everyone; this is Carol, and I apologize in advance if I cough, because I have a cold, but a lot - it's cooperating this afternoon. Thank you, Carolyn, for that introduction. There's a lot going on in Newton right now, but the next three slides will talk about Newton's journey to getting to where we are. I know she mentioned we have been designated in Massachusetts as a green community; we were the first community to be designated as a green community.
We have two high-performance school buildings: they're our high schools. We are light years ahead from where we were when I first began working for the Newton Public Schools ten years ago, so in going back, this slide talks about benchmarking. Essentially, in order to get anywhere, you really need to know what's broken, what can be fixed, how much will it cost? You have to start collecting data. I mean, I didn't - in 2002, I probably didn't ever use the term benchmarking, but now I really do. What do we benchmark in Newton?
What's essential if you're a facilities director or an operations manager is, obviously, to benchmark your utilities costs, and your operations and maintenance costs and the costs that are - it says here "using CMMS." Those are computerized maintenance management systems. In Newton, we're using a product - and this isn't a sales pitch for them - but in Newton, we're using a product called SchoolDude.com, which some of you may be familiar with and using. It's a web-enabled maintenance management system. It enables us to also track utilities, if we want to use it for that.
There are other programs I recently researched. You know, what's happened - back when we contracted with SchoolDude.com, there weren't that many programs available, but now there are other software programs available, or web-enabled programs available to you. But where do we start? Who can be your champion to get this started? I guess I was the initial champion, only through default. Basically, I would have people in our accounting department coming to me, from the year 2000 when I began there to the year 2002.
Other staff would come to me and say, "You won't believe what the electricity bill is this month." And, you know, eventually - at first, I was just annoyed. Like, "Well, don't you know that electricity costs a lot?" And yes, costs were going up - actually, for the first time in a long time - in that period, in that 2002 period. And I began to slowly start really looking at what those bills were rather than just allowing people to process them, and making phone calls to our local utility to find out what was going on.
Were there errors? Were there ways that we could modify our usage during peak demand times? So looking at the last part of this chart, staff support - knowing and really making connections with the people who pay bills; once we made that connection, I started collecting information in a simple spreadsheet and putting it into Excel. I didn't have staff to do that. As a director of operations, there was no way that I could be spending my day at my computer doing this, so I made connections with other staff.
Secretaries in school buildings and even my administration building who might have some extra time, who would be willing to let me show them how to take these stacks of bills and start slowly populating the data, and that's what I did. Eventually, because of some cutbacks in staff, I went to the local senior center, and I found a wonderful gentleman who was retired. He was the previous president of a manufacturing firm, and he was willing to let me actually come into his home, train him on how to enter the data, and I would drop off stacks of bills.
With 22 buildings and 2 million square feet, and across a number of different types of utilities - electricity, gas, oil, and water - we certainly had huge stacks of bills each month. So we got it done. Let's move to the next slide, which is beyond that. The reason that we had to champion all of this was because we were - and I didn't know this in 2002. I just thought is was a good idea that I could begin telling people that, "Gee, we're spending a lot. You know, maybe we should roll back thermostats. Maybe there are things we can do to reduce our energy bills."
We weren't talking - at least locally in the Newton Public Schools, we weren't really talking about reducing carbon emissions and looking at the bigger picture. Self-interest was our prime motivator at that point; we just really wanted to reduce our cost so that we could save teachers. So within a couple of years, however, I started realizing that there were other, I guess, agencies and champions outside of me who could possibly help me. And I realized that National Grid, which back then was Boston Edison in my community, had rebate programs that could help us change our lighting to more energy-efficient lighting.
I started reaching out and found out that there are lots of areas of support. Today, there are many more agencies. A good example is NEEP and the other agencies, similar sister agencies that exist across the country with training and support. And also, what isn't listed on this slide is in Massachusetts, we have a Department of Energy Resources at the state level. The state people were a great resource, and they're the ones who really were promoting energy performance contracting.
And when I started talking with them about what was energy performance contracting, how could we move in that direction, the first thing they asked me was, "Well, are you tracking your energy costs?" And bingo, I was really pleased that we were already tracking some of the costs. And so we continued tracking costs, and at some point, working with the powers-that-be and the mayor's office in Newton to adopt an energy performance contract, and to go out to bid and have energy services companies bid on this bid to work with the city. It's actually a long-term contract.
We are doing energy audits in all of the 85 buildings in Newton, not only the 22 schools - although the 22 schools comprise the largest amount of square footage in the city. And it's a phased approach, and it's taken a lot of work, but we're already seeing and reaping the benefits of energy savings, even though we're only in the second year. What the energy performance contract is also enabling us to do is to set in definite priorities. Once we get audits for each building back, a team meets and reviews which items have longer-term paybacks.
What's the low-hanging fruit, what will give us the biggest bang for the buck, and how are we going to finance it? So it's something that working with NEEP and working with the state resources, you can really figure out how to do this, and there are lots of resources out there to really help you. But the most important thing is collecting data and having it available, so that you can make those informed decisions, and also, beyond your energy data - and let's see - on the next slide - oops, went the wrong way.
The other type of benchmarking that needs to be done at the same time is knowing what type of equipment you have, because you will be looking at - I mean the audits are done, and the audits will let you know how your equipment is performing. But if you have more in-depth data, you can really help the energy service company as they're going out and making these analyses. It'll help you in your decision-making. So data tracking on all levels - utilities and also the performance of your operating plant - is useful no matter what. Energy performance contracting usually requires two to maybe three years of energy data.
If you can't give the company some significant energy data, it will be difficult. Now, as of last summer, in the state of Massachusetts, the state Department of Energy Resources is working with the utilities - at least the electric utilities and our gas utilities, National Grid - to be able to download their data automatically, which was a dream to me in 2002. I was asking, "Well, gee, couldn't I just get all this data directly from the utilities?" But it really wasn't available to us.
Now we have a program called Mass Energy Insight - for any of you who are in Massachusetts who are listening. Mass Energy Insight, you can find that resource on the state's Department of Energy Resources website, or just google Mass Energy Insight, and it's a program that's available to everyone to begin automatically downloading utility data from the utilities. There's usually a three-month lag time, but it's still a wonderful resource, and it will enable people to enter into energy performance contracts a lot fast, because they'll already have the data at hand.
I think that even if you don't have that resource, if you at least begin looking at how much money it's costing you to run your equipment and to run your buildings, and also looking at what types of operating repairs are really your highest cost centers, you can begin connecting the dots and understanding that if you have motors that are constantly breaking down, that are running very inefficiently, not only are you spending on the maintenance cost, but you've got some hidden utility costs that you can link.
And doing all of that really makes a great argument for defending your budget requests, whether they are capital or operating. Now I'm gonna slip back more towards benchmarking your repairs and your work orders. Ten years ago in Newton, in the year 2000 when I began working there, we had no computerized maintenance management system at hand. We had paper work orders: essentially, it was a form that was filled out. Maybe a secretary would type what broke down in which school.
We have a unit's insulator that broke and we need it repaired, and she would fill that out. After receiving a phone call from the building custodian to tell her, she would fill it out, and she would fax it to the city's tradespeople. There's a public building department that's not part of the school system, but it's part of the city, and she would fax that over. Someone there would get the piece of paper and physically hand it to whether it was an electrician, or an outside contractor who was gonna come in to make the repair. The tracking was abominable.
Eventually, in maybe the year 2002, we tried creating our own tracking system, but it was really cumbersome. It just didn't have lots of bells and whistles, and it took a lot of time to enter the data that we took off the paper. So without that good system, every year our budget was operating in the red. And the school committee would ask questions about it, and it was just an accepted problem - I don't really - it's hard for me, where we are now, to envision that we would just accept; that we didn't know why everything cost so much, and why things weren't getting better.
The general answer was, "Well, you know, many of our buildings are 50 to 100 years old, and that's just what it is." But we could not make any inroads into operating in the black. By 2004, we had been - between 2002 and 2004, I had been researching what types of computerized systems were available to us to really track our work orders and have real-time data as to what was breaking down, and make informed decisions about what to repair and what to replace. And it was in 2004, I believe, that we, well, purchased - it's a contract that we have with SchoolDude.com to use their system. And at that point, it really was revolutionary.
Custodians themselves wouldn't be calling our office to tell us that something was broken. Custodians would go to their computer. Now, of course, we had to train them, we had to buy them computers, but that was doable. Custodians would type in very easily, using drop-down menus - I mean a system was established, so it was very easy to use. It was consistent across all buildings; there was little room for error. You would open up a drop-down menu, and pretty much you would find what repair needed to be done. You could label it an emergency or not an emergency.
And in my office, we would be able to process these work orders daily and get them back to the city's tradespeople, who would then print out the work order and go out in the field. There were some communities where tradespeople have hand-held devices; we still don't have them, but we're hopefully moving in that direction, where tradespeople in the field can go out and enter the data that they made the repair, et cetera. So what that did was faster repairs, accountability at all levels - no one could say they lost a piece of paper.
For my part, I could begin to forecast spending and stay within budget, so since approximately 2005, annually, I have stayed within budget. I have been in the black each year. And I've been able to use that data to justify the need for an increased budget, and my budget has been increased in the past two years. So with having data, you really expand your basic support and your stakeholders, and you involve everyone in a very clear process. At the bottom of the screen, you just see how - you know, one of the charts that I provide monthly to the school to let them know how many work orders are being done in the various cost centers.
Teamwork - well, as you can tell from what I've said, I've needed teamwork within the local Newton community, whether it's finding those volunteers to enter data, to working with state individuals. We've created - in approximately 2004, we created an environmental management team The EMT is an interdepartmental team that consists of fire, health, teachers' union, the custodial union, parent-teacher organization reps, people from city's public buildings, public works department, and we together review the data from the various systems that I've talked about - especially what's going on, what are we spending money on, what's breaking down and where.
And we together develop policies and procedures that cover lots of areas, from energy use, from indoor air quality, recycling, a multitude of areas that fall under the environmental umbrella. And we've created together not only - we've gone into the schools, and we've created teams within each school building to bring them into the process. We've trained, for example, teachers to go in and do classroom assessments of what's wrong in their classroom, what's right in their classroom.
And we've also trained the people on the school team to actually train the trainer approach use PowerPoint presentations that we've prepared, and annually they can run through these PowerPoints and train new staff that have come in and refresh old staff. So occupant behavior - changing occupant behavior through awareness and responsibility is key. I would say that in teamwork also working with community groups is very important - just going back to putting the energy performance contract together.
Although the energy management team had been talking to the mayor and the board of aldermen in Newton about moving in that direction, that it would be a great thing; we'd be able to fund capital improvements through energy savings. It wasn't until we got some community advocates, parents who were really sick and tired of seeing that broken heating plant issues were really impinging on the classroom environment - classrooms are too hot, too cold. Bathrooms were inefficient. Plumbing was always breaking down.
And those parents started looking for issues that they could politicize, frankly, and in doing that, in working with them, they were able to mobilize that anger and turn it into something positive, and really became co-advocates for energy performance contracting with the city staff. I'm just showing you in this slide just a poster that's on our website. We have printed them out and handed them out; they're in all classrooms. It talks about how to make your classroom environment better. And back to lessons learned: what I wish I had known.
Well, number one, I wish that I had known in those early years that to try to get my budget out of the red, I would just approve repairs a lot. And I wasn't tracking information, so I thought that the most expedient thing to do was to make those repairs and keep people happy immediately, rather than letting things be broken if they had to be broken for a little while, and then really looking deeper and looking at how, over the course of - again, by data tracking, looking at the cost of repairs over a number of years.
And being able to advocate for replacement of equipment rather than just Band-Aids to fix things: I really had had a mind shift through all of this. I've had a bunch of mind shifts, I guess. One was that the repair of equipment, maintenance of equipment, is related to energy use, and I couldn't connect those dots until I started collecting the data. Complicated software programs aren't necessary. They're nice to have; however, if you just need to - if you find someone on staff who's good with Excel, there's no reason you can't being tracking data if you don't have the funds to buy software.
And then whatever data you're collecting can then become your advocate for buying the software later. And the last thing is collaborating with community advocates. As I mentioned, in energy performance contracting, to get that off the ground, there was a group that was - it's a statewide group called Stand for Children, and I think it's actually national. And Stand for Children comes up with a project in the community that they're going to advocate for politically, and at first I thought, "Well, maybe I wanna just stay away from these people. I don't know what they're going to get into and what they're going to do."
But then I realized by meeting with them, they were really looking for something that they could help us with; that they could advocate for. So I gave them - I talked to them about energy performance contracting, and I said, "Frankly, with the age of our infrastructure in our buildings in Newton, the best thing we could do is enter into an energy performance contract, because, number one, we would be able to replace equipment at a much faster rate than we'll ever do the way we've been doing it. And number two, it will improve the environment for children and teachers and staff.
And number three, we will save energy. And so I wish I had known that initially, but those are sort of my most important lessons learned in this process, and I guess that's it.
Carolyn Sarno: Thanks, Carol.
Carol Cafetz: Thanks for listening.
Carolyn Sarno: We'll have some time at the end for some questions for Carol, but we just wanted to kind of give a brief overview of some of the highlights from this webinar today. The first and foremost is that efficiency first - we should adopt that mantra. Before you think about renewable technology, you have to make your buildings as energy efficient as possible. You have to develop a policy and a plan, and this is with regards to not only your energy use, your utilities, and your water usage, but also your building stock.
You need to know what you have in your inventory so that you can put together an effective operations and maintenance plan and policy. And most importantly, you can't manage what you haven't measured, and again, that ties back to not only the energy use, but your building stock as well. Training of building staff - there's only so much that your building staff can do when they're educated on the effectiveness of the operations and maintenance of the building, but building occupants, they are - every user should be a saver as well, so building occupants need to know about their responsibility to make the buildings as energy efficient as possible.
And as you heard from Carol, preventative maintenance works. It was you, too, can be like the city of Newton and get out of the red and into the black by performing preventative maintenance, tracking your work orders, and building your case for energy efficiency. And another lasting point is that there are free resources available; you don't have to reinvent the wheel.
There are many guidelines, such as the one that Susy had outlined for you in the beginning for the Northeast Collaborative for High-Performance School Operations and Maintenance guide, to the Federal Operations and Maintenance guide, to Energy-Smart Schools, and many additional resources that we have listed here that will be accompanying the presentation that will be posted on the TAP center afterwards. So now, at this point, I'm going to turn it back over to Ed Londergan.
Ed Londergan: Thanks, Carolyn. There are a couple other things I wanted to point out to you. The TAP resources are available 24 hours a day. You can either go on the Solution Center website, or you can call the Technical Assistance Center and submit a request that way. Or you can call the call center and actually ask questions and have them answered that way. The other thing is there are seven more webinars coming up in the month of November, and they're listed here.
All of the webinars that are coming up are listed on the DOE Solution Center website, so you can see what those are; but we encourage you to join us for any of the ones that are coming up that you're interested in. And as I mentioned in the opening, we are part of Team 4, and as you can see from the map, we cover the whole country. But if you have questions or you need assistance, don't hesitate to contact us. Here is our information, and yeah, we look forward to helping you any way we can. And now we'll take questions if you have any.
Susy Jones: Great, so I encourage you all, if you do have questions, to write them into the question box right now, which, again, is at the bottom of your GoToMeeting dialog box. There is one question that has come in for Carol, and this person asked whether your automated benchmarking through the state Department of Energy was from Energy Star.
Carol Cafetz: We began using Energy Star, and it's morphed into a product called Mass Energy Insight, so I guess the answer is "yes."
Susy Jones: Great. It doesn't look like there are any more questions at the moment, but again, I do encourage you to write them in. Looks like we have a few extra minutes, so Carolyn, do you have some questions for Carol?
Carolyn Sarno: I do, I do. I have a couple of questions, actually, for Carol as people are formulating their own questions, or digesting, if you will. So I guess one thing that I would ask, seeing as you work in a community, but what is the one top thing that communities could do to make their buildings more efficient? What would streamline the process for them or make it easier?
Carol Cafetz: I think the one thing is to really explore what an energy performance contract is. If you can get that off the ground, you will not only collect a lot of important information about your operating plant and how it can be more efficient - and you'll actually be able to change and improve it. So I would start exploring what resources are available, and I know NEEP has resources available for energy performance contracting.
Carolyn Sarno: Great. And what's the greatest resource to you?
Carol Cafetz: People are my greatest resource. I think my greatest resource has been, in the end, looking back in hindsight, the State of Massachusetts Energy Resources Department. They were always willing to try to help me with information, and inspire me to keep moving on the path, so they really were my greatest resource at a high level; and at a low level, just individuals who are out there who really have the same basic mission, and they're in your community. They may not work for your city or town, but they're out there, and you need to find them.
Carolyn Sarno: So ask questions.
Carol Cafetz: Ask questions - right. Meet people.
Carolyn Sarno: Don't be afraid.
Carol Cafetz: Tell them what you're doing. Tell them what your problems are. Sometimes, you know, you try to hide it, like you need to go over and make yourself look good, but let them know what you're struggling wit - people wanna help.
Susy Jones: Great, so we have a couple of more questions. Actually, there's a questions about the Technical Assistance Program. Can a grantee that has received EECBG funds via the state government contact the Solution Center directly, or must the state first contact TAP on behalf of the grantee?
Ed Londergan: No. The grantee, regardless of the source of the funds, can contact the Technical Assistance Program directly, and once a request is entered, then that's evaluated and forwarded to the appropriate person in your area, who'd contact you and discuss any assistance that you need.
Susy Jones: Great. And we have a couple more questions for Carol. What is the return on investment of your computerized maintenance system - CMS?
Carol Cafetz: That's a great question, and I can't just make up an answer and tell you what it is. You know, it's - I can actually get back to you with that.
Susy Jones: Yeah, we'll make sure and follow up with you on that question.
Carol Cafetz: Yeah; yeah. It's a great question.
Susy Jones: It's a good question. A couple more - looks like you're very popular with the questions here - so another question about schools. So with teachers primarily hired to teach, how did you get through union objections about having teachers work on facilities issues?
Carol Cafetz: Oh, that's a perfect question, and actually, that was my biggest challenge in this process, because when I would say that I wanted to create these teams, and people would say, "When will we have the time?" So when I established that overarching environmental management team that was comprised of other departments and city departments, I had the head of the teachers' union on that team. And she really bought in, and once she bought in, the problem wasn't really solved, because principals have so much on their agenda.
And so what I found was one day a week we have an early release day in the elementary schools, so I looked for blocks of time where it wouldn't be a burden. I really went in and got the support of principals who would allow me to come in and run mini-programs at their staff meetings. But that was a challenge, and it's still a challenge, because staff change, and priorities change at the school level, and everyone's under lots of pressure. But it's worked, so - but it is a challenge.
Susy Jones: Thanks, Carol. Maybe I'll just turn this over to Ed for a quick question on do you need to be a grantee to take advantage of the Technical Assistance Program?
Ed Londergan: The quick answer is yes, you do. The Assistance Program was set up to assist grantees, so yes, you do need to be a grantee to contact them.
Susy Jones: Thank you. Another question, back to Carol: what specific projects were targeted with the performance contract so far, and how much energy savings - annual percentage - has been realized?
Carol Cafetz: Okay. We've just finished - we're still in implementation of Phase II for four school buildings. We have finished, completed I, and we targeted replacing I guess ten rooftop units - air handlers, et cetera - lots of motors in those units. We saved approximately 8 percent so far, although our energy management system isn't complete. We also put in occupancy centers for lighting; we changed all of the lighting, so we're still tweaking.
We haven't finished commissioning that first building, but the savings is running 8 to 10 percent already, and once our energy management system is 100 percent operational, we expect to see that going up.
Susy Jones: Great. Another question about your team-building skills: so how on earth did you organize parents, who have typically no directions and are all their own leaders? I guess that question is how did you organize parents?
Carol Cafetz: Well, in the city of Newton, parents really wanna be involved. I mean usually they're just complaining and everything, but having been a parent in Newton myself, you want a good environment. You want a good learning environment for your students, for your child, so they really weren't all that hard to organize. They were willing to get involved, and then they were using what I was saying in their own arguments, and that was a little risky for me.
They would say, "Well, Carol said" - you know - "this is how bad things are." But eventually - I don't know. They really weren't all that hard to organize.
Carolyn Sarno: But sometimes some of their - you had mentioned that their complaining turned into an opportunity to open the door to get them involved, even if people aren't willing, if they were saying there was an issue in a particular school -
Carol Cafetz: Right. I would say, "Well, here's what you can do," and I made it - when I would hold meetings within the schools in establishing those in-school teams, I would contact PTO leaders for that building and say, "Hey, is there anyone who's around during the day or wants to attend this meeting?" And I would open it up, and invariably, there were people who wanted to get involved.
Susy Jones: Great. So any other little questions we have, we'll make sure to follow up with you, but again, that Technical Assistance Program is just for grantees, and that sort of ends our question and answer portion.
Carolyn Sarno: And the webinar will be posted on the Solutions Center, so if you missed anything today, or you miss our voices, you can hear us again. There were also a few other webinars that we had taken part in. One was done in August - that was on EECBG White Paper NEEP had developed on five strategies you could take for maximizing energy efficiency. And then on September 14th there was one on low to no-cost strategies for public buildings on energy efficiency.
So we definitely, if you missed out on those, encourage you to check the Solution Center website and listen to any of those live broadcasts.
Ed Londergan: Great. Thank you, everyone, for joining us. We hope it was informative and helpful.
Carolyn Sarno: And fill out the survey.
Ed Londergan: That's right - fill out the survey. Thank you.
Susy Jones: Thanks, everybody.
Carolyn Sarno: Thanks - have a great day.