New Rochelle schools seeing success in reducing energy consumption
The New Rochelle City School District is being recognized for reducing its energy use at five of its school buildings last summer.
Between May and September 2023, the school district used climate change AI technology from Logical Buildings to detect days when more people were drawing from the power grid.
This generally occurred when the summer temperature rose and more people were using their air conditioners, which strained the utility company.
Depending on the building, the school district would turn off its main air conditioners at New Rochelle High School, Trinity Elementary School, William B. Ward Elementary School, Columbus Elementary School and Albert Leonard Middle School for four hours between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
This small change in energy consumption prevented local blackouts and helped keep the utility company from relying on backup generators that use older technology and create more air pollution.
"We're looking to not be the first in doing something but to be very active and be very proactive in terms of practices that are going to sustain our environment for future generations," New Rochelle Superintendent of Schools Dr. Corey W. Reynolds said.
Last summer, there were two peak energy demand days, and school district officials said there was no impact on student and staff comfort or safety.
In addition to the environmental benefits, Sustainable Westchester a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, presented the school district with a $23,943 rebate check for their cost savings.
"When the event started everything would just shut off for that four-hour period," New Rochelle School District facilities director Keith Watkins said.
There has been increased pressure on buildings nationwide to improve their sustainability measures because they account for nearly 40% of all global carbon dioxide emissions.
"Just a slight change in how they're using their energy that day has an outsized impact on carbon emissions," Sustainable Westchester's Lauren Brois said.
The district is exploring opportunities to expand the program into all 10 buildings by this summer following the initial success.