EAST ISLIP, N.Y. - After the recent energy shortage and blackout events, East Islip School District announced that it has joined Operation Save New York's electric demand response program to help the grid by reducing electric usage during shortage periods, as well as continuing to replace old equipment with energy efficient units as part of a project started two years ago.

Energy Curtailment Specialists Inc. (ECS), the administrator of Operation Save New York, will pay East Islip approximately $20,000 annually for its participation. East Islip has been seeking out means of streamlining energy usage during a time in which the district is on a contingent austerity budget.

"Joining a demand response energy program that offers us potential rewards is a major step for us," said Robert Tartaglia, East Islip's plant and facility administrator.

East Islip receives compensation for being on standby, year round, to conserve if the electric grid enters a critical shortage period. Energy reduction is achieved by reducing lighting and air conditioning as well as equipment in boiler rooms.

"The staff felt a little inconvenienced at first but became receptive of the program after explanation. We're helping the overall grid from further blackouts and the district is reaping the benefits monetarily," said Tartaglia.

East Islip's conservation efforts were called into effect four days this summer. Fans were used in lieu of air conditioning for areas housing staff and summer school programs, and students went out to the athletic fields to stay cool during the late afternoon.

"Energy conservation is a hot topic lately, with the recent events. It's important to ingrain the concept in the minds of our children and our community, so we're very happy to welcome East Islip into our program," said Glen Smith, president and CEO of ECS.

At the middle school Tartaglia uses a centrally controlled digital energy management system which allows him to manipulate equipment through a computer. The system makes it easy to track where electricity is being used and to make reductions in different areas simultaneously.

As part of the second phase of renovations, slated for next summer, new energy efficient unit ventilators will be installed in the early childhood section and Timber Point. During the first phase, these ventilators were installed in the other five of seven district buildings, along with energy efficient lighting, heating plants, boilers, and other HVAC equipment.

East Islip's renovations are two-fold: they save on electric costs with reduced electric expenditure and receive payments from Operation Save New York for lowering their electric demand from the year prior.

"Now is the time to lower your costs and reap the rewards of energy programs. We see the demand for electricity climbing every year, so this is only the beginning. We're going to see these programs gaining in popularity," said Smith.

Publication date: 09/25/2006