The Stephenville and Dublin Independent School Districts recently addressed district energy usage and how each district will comply with House Bill 3693, passed during the state’s most recent legislative session.

During the 80th Legislative Session, a number of bills passed the house and senate that were aimed at conserving and protecting the state’s energy resources.

SISD superintendent Dr. Darrell Floyd said the board of trustees adopted a set of reduction goals in February.

The goals are to: identify energy cost reduction measures; reduce energy consumption by limiting equipment operation to occupied hours and areas requiring energy services; utilize maintenance tune-ups and calibrations to ensure proper operation of equipment; and increase employee awareness of conservation measures.

Floyd said he forwarded the goals to all of the district’s employees and requested that they consider the goals and provide input and possible solutions for the reduction dilemma. Floyd said that a number of suggestions have already been returned.

To meet the goals, a comparison must be made between the 2007 and 2008 fiscal years and in that time there must be a noted five percent reduction in the district’s energy usage. The fiscal year ends Aug. 31.

During last month’s meeting of the DISD Board of Trustees, superintendent Roy Neff explained that he is responsible for developing a plan for energy consumption reduction for the district.

Neff presented a few ideas such as installing energy efficient light bulbs across the district’s campuses and working to educate faculty and staff on the importance of taking simple measures to reduce consumption such as turning off lights every time rooms are vacated.

Neff will draw up a plan to present to the board for approval.

Every school district in the state is also required to report the district’s consumption and cost of electricity, natural gas and water on their Web sites. Both SISD and DISD have already posted energy usage on their Web sites.

HB 3693 was authored by Representative Joe Straus of San Antonio, who serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy Conservation and Efficiency.

The purpose of the bill, as explained on www.house.state.tx.us, is to provide reductions in consumption and demand to avoid crises during peak energy times. The legislation also creates enhancements for existing energy efficiency programs, enables more customer demand management, updates building energy codes, and requires state agencies to purchase more efficient equipment and appliances. In addition, the bill has established a sales tax holiday on energy-efficient appliances.

Although the DISD board agreed that taking steps to reduce energy consumption across the district is not only required but also important, there were some doubts as to how reduction will be possible.

DISD board member Don Keith remarked, in reference to the construction of the new intermediate school, “reduction is going to be hard in the middle of a building project.”

Both districts will continue to work on developing an energy reduction plan in an attempt to meet the five percent reduction requirement.

Superintendent Dennis Hughes said the Lingleville Independent School District will address HB 3693 at this month’s meeting. The LISD Board of Trustees will meet Thursday at 7 p.m. at the school library.