Saving Energy While Boosting Staff Morale
With no capital outlay, Kelly Prutch, Facilities Maintenance Supervisor for the City of Eugene in Oregon and BOC graduate used her BOC energy-efficiency training to effect major changes in the cleaning procedures of the city’s public buildings. The goal was to reduce lighting costs during the off-hours activities required in Eugene’s public library, public works building, city hall and the emergency services & training building. A related capital project to improve the lighting control was implemented several months after the team cleaning changes.
Previously, the clean-up practice used a small number of staff for each site and took about ten hours per facility. A review of this set up revealed that it made much more sense to work as one large team, tackling one site at a time. Making this change meant that, together, the team could finish a site in anywhere from three to five hours.
Sustainable Operations Analyst, Lynne Eichner-Kelley, also a BOC grad, completed an analysis of the late night energy use at one of the buildings, the library, before and after the team cleaning changes. Using 15-minute interval data available from local utility Eugene Water & Electric Board, this analysis showed that overall electrical demand for the building between 2am and 6am was reduced by 15-20% simply by the change in cleaning procedures.
This simple but effective alteration of a traditional daily routine, from a more solitary method to a team approach not only saved energy – and thus, money – for the City of Eugene, but also improved work efficiency, as well as staff morale. It also defines the most basic of BOC training principles: energy efficiency and savings without capital expenditure.
“Our custodial staff was asked to vacate the library building one evening, so engineers could do some research for the changes to the control system. As I worked out the schedules so we could get our work done that day, I realized we had a real opportunity to decrease energy use by making the “team concept” a more permanent arrangement. Without my BOC training, that never would have occurred to me,” says Kelly Prutch.
The project to add occupancy sensor based control was completed several months after the change to team cleaning. The addition of improved controls brought the demand savings up to 30 and 40% for those late night hours. Prutch plans to continue improving the night-time energy use of City of Eugene buildings by shifting custodial work from the current 8pm to 7am shift, to an earlier swing-shift time 3pm – 2am.