Evaluating Energy Usage in K-12 Schools from a Statewide Perspective

  • Thomas M. Carson
  • Lance Worth
  • Russ Zellmer
Keywords: Energy


How do you benchmark more than 900 school buildings and then audit the energy inefficient buildings in less than a year? And then how do you implement suggestions identified in the audit to realize energy savings? Those were the questions asked by the state of Nebraska when they released a request for proposals (RFP) in April 2011. They asked engineering teams to put together proposals to accomplish the above tasks. The team of the Schemmer Associates and Waldinger Corp. was selected from several respondents to provide services. The team worked closely with the Nebraska Energy Office (NEO) to devise and execute a plan that would meet the expectations of the NEO and provide actionable information for the schools involved in the study. The execution portion was removed from the project, which allowed school districts to work with engineers and contractors of their choice. Beginning in early July, every school district in the state was invited to participate in the program. Approximately 60% of the school districts responded to the initial requests for utility bills. Of the approximately 979 buildings, 57 received investment-grade audits and were given energy master plans to enable them to cut their utility costs at their own pace.


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Author Biographies

Thomas M. Carson

Thomas M. Carson, PE, CEM. Thom is a senior engineer with HDR Engineering and has 17 years of experience in mechanical design and construction. Ten of those years have been spent focusing on energy conservation and reduction. This includes doing turnkey energy projects as well as performance contracting. Thom was an employee of the Schemmer Associates when this project was undertaken and he had the role of technical project manager and spent the majority of his time in the field doing audits and performing quality control on all the audits that were written. Thom can be contacted at Thomas.carson@hdrinc. com.

Lance Worth

Lance Worth, EI. Lance Worth is an EI at The Schemmer Associates in Omaha, NE. In 2009, he graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Master’s degree in Architectural Engineering with a focus on mechanical and energy systems. Lance audited over 50% of the buildings in this study and developed formulae for savings calculations to ensure that all EEMs were calculated the same way. Since 2009 he has performed energy audits on over 5 million square feet of educational, retail, and religious facilities. Lance can be contacted at lworth@schemmer. com.

Russ Zellmer

Russ Zellmer. Russ Zellmer is a member of AEE and ASHRAE and has more than 13 years of experience in mechanical estimating, construction and energy services. Russ served as production project manager and coordinated the logistics that went into executing this project. He also led an audit team and was instrumental in quality control and assurance. You can contact Russ at rzellmer@omaha.waldinger.com.