Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified Receives Environmental Stewardship Award

Two years ago, the district implemented an Energy Conservation program that to date has saved the equivalent of:

• 2,009 metric tons of carbon dioxide, a trace gas that according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website is a main contributor to the Earth’s climate change;
• 419 cars removed off the road; or
• 51,523 pine trees that would have taken 10 years go grow.

“We initially launched the program for two reasons. First, it was the right thing to do for our environment. Second, it’s an easy way to curb energy, water and gas costs,” said Superintendent Doug Domene.

The program works simply by turning off energy-using devices after hours or shutting down lights or heating/air conditioning systems when schools or the district office are closed. If staff members are working after hours, they can still turn on heating or air conditioning for the particular rooms that are in use; however, the rest of the campus that is not in use will be saving energy by having systems turned off. The district’s energy conservation specialists Paul Juarez and Eddie Tabata, whom are long-time PYLUSD employees (former counselor and teacher, respectively), have met with staff at every school about the importance of energy shutdowns during school breaks or times when campuses are off hours.

“Staff members are also making a huge difference,” said Tabata. “Simply by turning off classroom or office devices at night and on weekends we are seeing savings. Think of at least one thing to save is what we are asking staff. Whether it’s a light, a printer, a computer, an electric stapler, one item will make a difference. ‘Save one’ is our message.”

As one example, document cameras used in classrooms cost $12,915 in energy bills in one year. “By turning them off when people are not there, we can cut that cost in half and extend the life of the device,” Tabata added.

The Environmental Stewardship Award is to recognize school districts or organizations that have decreased carbon emissions and conserved natural resources. The school district will receive the award at the November 18 Board of Education meeting. The award will be presented by Cenergistic, an award-winning company that has helped school districts, including Placentia-Yorba Linda USD, and organizations across the nation save more than $3 billion.

The award comes right before the school district’s upcoming Thanksgiving and winter breaks, a time when schools and the district are closed for a few days but a time when the district is actively saving money by shutting down air conditioning/heating in unused buildings, lights, printers, office equipment and other energy-draining “vampires” that continue to use energy if plugged in and unused.

Optimizing resources is one of the district’s focus areas in the district’s five-year Strategic Plan called the “PYLUSD Advantage.” The plan was developed over a year in partnership with parents, students, business and civic leaders, community members, staff members, and the Board of Education. Specifically, Strategic Initiative 5.3 calls for the district to “achieve greater efficiencies through sustainable efforts in building construction, energy and water conservation, reduced fuel consumption, and waste reduction.”


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