Saving Energy Saves Millions for the Grand Prairie ISD

By Kendra Lyn
|  Tuesday, Jan 7, 2014  |  Updated 11:57 AM CDT
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Energy conservation is a year-round effort for the Grand Prairie Independent School District.

Kendra Lyn, NBC 5

Energy conservation is a year-round effort for the Grand Prairie Independent School District.

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North Texans weathered the cold temperatures and made it through Tuesday morning without the power problems and threats of rolling blackouts like Monday.

ERCOT tells NBC 5 that the system met customers’ demands.

Still, energy conservation is a year-round effort for places like the Grand Prairie Independent School District. One district employee makes it his mission to make everyone an "Energy Star."

“The energy manager. I’ve been called the energy czar. I’ve been called hound dog,” says Jerry Palermo, Grand Prairie Independent School District’s energy manager.

Palermo is serious about saving the district energy and the Grand Prairie taxpayers money. He's been known to scout schools in the middle of the night looking for wasteful ways.

"Computers, monitors, lights, closing your door to your classrooms,” said Palermo.

On the flip side, he rewards teachers and schools who make the grade.

The district is part of Oncor's Commercial Management program. Schools, businesses, governments voluntarily ease up on energy use during peak demand. There is an incentive to participate. Palermo knew that the district would be cutting back in this cold snap.

“We shut down the big areas, our gyms, our cafeterias, the theaters. We have to shed our load.  There's so much load we have to shed, but we still make it so it's conducive for learning in the building. That's how we're helping during this cold weather,” Palermo said.

Cold weather, high heating demands, and two power plant failures pushed the grid to the limit on Monday morning, but ERCOT said they've rebounded Tuesday with help across the board.

In the GPISD Central Command, they'll keep monitoring every degree in the 43 buildings around the district throughout the year.

“Every penny that we save, for that meter slowing down, goes back into other things that we do in this district,” Palermo said.

They aren’t just pennies the district saves. Palermo estimates they've saved about $15 million since the energy program started in 1999.

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