By Celis Brisbin, Programs Manager

In celebration of Green Apple Day of Service, local NORESCO employees partnered with Boston Public Schools to bring energy conservation, appliance energy usage and building energy technologies to life with an engaging hands-on energy audit. It was a natural fit to conduct the walk through energy audit with Facilities Management students at Madison Park Vocational Technical High School. Noresco energy engineers worked with Phoebe Beierle, Sustainability Manager at BPS, and Perino Watson and Matt Zajak, teachers at Madison Park, to develop an appropriate energy curriculum for the students that was complete with an audit worksheet, solar mapping tool and high-tech diagnostic equipment.   


While the Facilities Management students already understood a lot about energy, to make a kill-a-watt-hour (our measurement of electricity) mean something, students used watt meters to measure electricity consumption of appliances and power tools in their classroom. It was eye opening for everyone when they saw how much energy a power sander or table saw requires! Using the data they collected on how much one projector or computer uses per hour, students can now estimate how much energy is being throughout the entire school and how much this costs each year!


Once the students had measured most of the appliances that had a plug, the group embarked on a more in-depth building audit, including stops at the boiler room, roof mechanical equipment, hallways and more. Students carried infrared cameras and temperature readers with them to evaluate the temperature of
different pipes, fans, pumps, etc. The students discovered that the insulated hot water pipes were warmer than the un insulated pipes in the basement. By looking around, asking questions about why things are designed certain ways and using diagnostic tools, the students got a taste of what it’s like to be a professional energy auditor. They also learned a lot about their building and where there are opportunities to save!


The energy investigation at Madison Park work won’t stop after Green Apple Day. The Facilities Management students will take what they learned and engage other students and staff in the building to save energy as part of the District’s Energy Conservation Challenge. During this challenge, Madison Park will strive to reduce electricity consumption by at least 5%, and in return earn 50% of the savings back! In addition, some seniors in the Facilities Management class will partner with BPS Facilities Management Department to inventory lighting systems and upgrade old lights to new, LED bulbs, further saving Madison Park money and making their school more sustainable for years to come.

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