Calvert County Public Schools: At the head of the class in conserving energy

For Calvert County Public Schools (CCPS), sustainability starts in the classroom. Beginning in elementary school, students are taught about the importance of recycling and energy conservation. Proving it practices what it preaches, CCPS has completed 239 energy efficiency upgrades through SMECO’s Business Solutions and has received over $2.1 million in incentives from SMECO for the upgrades. The incentives—and Calvert County’s participation in the Demand Response Program—are the sole source of funding for the energy projects completed at the schools. The improvements have helped CCPS earn U.S. Department of Education recognition through a Green Ribbon Schools award in 2019.

Identifying Energy-Saving Opportunities

With Sheila Stevens as its energy and environmental specialist, CCPS continues to seek opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of its 25 schools and administrative offices. According to Stevens, lighting upgrades can offer instant benefits when it comes to aesthetics, safety, and daily maintenance. Monitoring usage across the district helps identify schools and facilities that may benefit from additional energy-saving improvements.

“I take advantage of the ENERGY STAR® portfolio manager software for benchmarking, so I know when a building may be having difficulties performing at the level it should be,” says Stevens.

“We found that adding variable frequency drives to supply and return fans on rooftop units at one of our schools cut our electricity usage by over 30 percent—seeing that decrease is pretty gratifying.”

“I can’t believe there are businesses that don’t take advantage of SMECO’s energy-saving programs. They’re simple, useful, and I’ll keep using them as long as they’re available.”
—Sheila Stevens, Energy and Environmental Specialist, Calvert County Public Schools

Partnering for a Better Future

Stevens says that working with SMECO to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and facilities across the school district aligns with Calvert County’s sustainability goals and her passion for the environment.

“It’s important for us to reduce our carbon footprint, and I cannot stress enough how amazing SMECO’s partnership is,” says Stevens.

“When I hear of someone not taking advantage of the rebates and savings, I’m at a loss for words. I use the program as often as I can.”

Recognizing Lasting Benefits

Calvert County Public Schools’ continued efforts to reduce energy use is a testament to the success of its many energy efficiency upgrades.

Stevens says the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more difficult to manage energy use, but improving its energy efficiency through SMECO’s programs has helped the school district offset the energy costs it may incur because of COVID-19 protocols.

“Reducing our consumption continues to be a top priority. Every watt reduced is quantifiable, and we see the savings,” says Stevens. “When it comes to maintenance, our electricians are not spending time replacing bulbs and ballasts, so they can focus on other projects.”

Savings Summary

Business Solutions

Number of projects completed:

Estimated energy savings:
5,984,333 kWh

Equivalent to CO2 emissions from:
7,720 homes’ annual electricity use

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