School officials continue to research and implement initiatives to achieve energy conservation. Most recently, the district partnered with experts in the energy industry to further their “green” agenda for school facilities and community resources.

As a leader among school districts in the area of green initiatives, the Deer Park School District has already installed light sensors with automatic shutoff controls at the high school, with Robert Frost Middle School installation to be completed this spring. These sensors will conserve the use of light in these buildings, resulting in utility cost savings. The anticipated immediate savings will pay for the sensors within three months of their activation.

Cogeneration Units (Cogens) are being utilized throughout the schools, including two at the high school, one at the middle school, and one at John F. Kennedy Intermediate School. Cogens use natural gas to generate electricity and these units produce up to $120,000 per year savings for the district. In addition, high efficiency boilers were installed at the high school and have reduced the yearly bill by a substantial $350,000 dollars and achieved a 50% reduction in therm usage, otherwise known as units of heat.

Johnson Controls, a nationwide leader in optimizing energy use and providing solutions for plant facilities, is currently conducting an energy audit on the remaining school district building systems to determine other areas to be addressed to achieve even greater efficiency. Various components will be analyzed, including boiler controls, computer management systems, heating and ventilation systems, and solar panels and other options and ideas will be considered to reduce energy bills.

“We realize that in order to become a truly green environment, we must do our due diligence and review all of our school buildings,” said Superintendent of Schools Eva Demyen. “The district is benefiting from the savings produced by our recent efforts in this area, and we will continue to explore new technologies to bring our facilities into the 21st Century for the benefit of our entire community.”

Deer Park Board of Education President Dennis Ryan, Board Trustee and Chairman of the district’s Energy Committee Keith Rooney and district administrators hosted representatives from National Grid, Clean Cities Coalition, and Engineered Energy Solutions to discuss the opportunities to further reduce costs at Deer Park schools through the implementation of natural gas buses. Various aspects of the project were highlighted, including installing a natural gas pumping station at the district’s transportation facility and converting the district’s bus fleet to natural gas. The first Long Island school district to convert to a completely ‘clean-air’ fleet of buses was the Long Beach City Schools in 2003. They purchased natural gas buses and retrofitted several existing buses with converters to run cleaner and more efficiently.

“We are already saving money through lower operational costs, which then allows us to redirect budgetary funds for educational programming,” said Mr. Rooney, who has spearheaded many of the district’s energy projects. “Our efforts, many of which have become realities thanks to the diligent work of Plant Facilities Administrator Kirk Gostkowski and his Buildings & Grounds crew, are also simultaneously supporting positive global change, while educating the students of Deer Park within an optimal environment.”