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December 2006

The philosophy of The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) is the commitment to provide educational services of the highest quality to children and youth of Texas who are blind or visually impaired, with or without additional disabilities. TSBVI welcomes the challenge to develop and deliver educational services and facilities which will result in productive, fulfilled blind and visually impaired adults who will enjoy the same responsibilities and privileges of all Texas citizens.

As energy conservation relates to buildings, TSBVI employees should always be sure that:

  • All lights are turned off when offices are vacated (includes workstations, lights and restrooms).
  • All unnecessary lights, appliances, and other equipment are turned off when not in use.
  • All computers, monitors, and printers are turned off at the end of the business day, if not utilized for evening processes.
  • All copiers will be set to utilize the “power save” feature when not in use.
  • Thermostats are set to cool/heat work areas during the day and set for economy energy saving mode at the end of each business day, as well as, on weekends and holidays.
  • Heating and cooling problems are reported as soon as possible.
  • Water is conserved and leaks are reported as soon as possible.
  • Older fluorescent light bulbs are replaced with energy saving fluorescent light bulbs as needed.

The TSBVI Property Manager and Fleet Vehicle Manager control a fleet of 27 state-owned vehicles with 53.57 percent using alternative fuels.  Our goal is to increase this percentage to 60 % in the next five-year period, as more vehicles are equipped for alternative fuels.  As energy conservation relates to transportation, TSBVI employees should always be sure that:

  • All policies and procedures as described by and outlined in the State Vehicle Fleet Management Plan will be followed.
  • TSBVI employees who drive a state-owned vehicle receive, understand, and comply with the policies and procedures by signing this plan.
  • TSBVI employees coordinate all agency errands whenever possible in order to conserve both time and mileage cost.

All employees of TSBVI who use a state-owned vehicle must follow the basic energy-saving rules listed below:

  • Use a state-owned vehicle for TSBVI business only.  Personal use of a state-owned vehicle is prohibited. 
  • Observe speed limits at all times.  
  • Use State fuel cards for gasoline purchases and repairs and report exceptions to the Fleet Vehicle Manager as soon as possible.  Seek out the lowest price for fuel available. 
  • In state-owned gasoline-operated vehicles, use regular unleaded gasoline unless specifically prohibited by manufacturer’s warranty or recommendations.
  • Perform a daily pre-trip inspection before driving state-owned vehicles. 
  • Have all service maintenance and repairs made by authorized TSBVI employees before driving a state-owned vehicle.

The School Board, Superintendent, and TSBVI staff strive to ensure that delivery of all services and business operations will be made in a cost-efficient manner by reducing utility usage (electricity, gas and water) based on square footage by one and one half percent per year over the next five-year period starting January 1, 2007.  TSBVI facilities, located at 1100 West 45th Street in Austin, Texas, consist of 44 structures measuring 295,800 gross square feet, and 272,454 usable square feet.  The 79th Legislature has approved $36,452,000 to develop a master plan to replace the main instructional building, cafeteria, natatorium, auditorium, multiple student living and instructional quarters, and deferred maintenance that has already started.  These projects are under design according to energy efficiency guidelines of the Texas Building and Procurement Commission. 

TSBVI is currently in the process of developing specifications for proposals to conduct an energy survey on three buildings that will remain after completion of the master plan:  building 529 the main elementary education building, building 530 the gymnasium, and building 531 the vocational, art, technology and maintenance building.

The utility usage for TSBVI remains moderate due to old buildings which were not designed for air conditioning, and buildings which were built in the 1970s and 1980s under the low bid methodology and had multiple general contractors that went bankrupt during the construction process.  We recently disposed of five doublewide mobile home living quarters and two portable office buildings that were replaced by five permanent structures with energy efficient construction.

TSBVI’s student population is relatively stable during the school year staying at 130 to 140 residential students with additional 10 to15 non-residential students from surrounding school districts.  In addition, TSBVI provides a very active summer enrichment program for blind and visually impaired students that do not attend TSBVI during the regular school year.  TSBVI also provides a conference center for outreach programs to teachers of blind and visually impaired students from across the state.

 


3/04 To 8/04 9/04 To 2/05 3/05 To 8/05 9/05 To 2/06 3/06 To 8/06
Gas 1,335 4,255 1,326 4,605 908
Electricity 6,994 7,237 7,302 7,511 8,475
Water 4,289 3,752 5,059 7,857 9,383
Gross Square Footage 304,984 304,984 304,984 304,984 295,800
Number Of Buildings 48 48 48 48 44
Peak Summer MW Demand 38 23 42 26 43

Updates to the Resource Efficiency Plan of April 2004/2005 are:

  • Best practices conservation measures provided to each employee to follow.  Update:  These are being followed as stated in the summary section above.
  • All thermostats for air conditioning set 75 degrees and all staff informed to leave them at 75 degreesUpdate:  We continue to keep thermostats set at 75 degrees. We currently use three different automated building control systems, the Trane Tracker/Tracer and the Honeywell Acselon software that provides timely building information and easy to use tools needed for integrated, flexible building control.  These systems provide us with data management and their advanced software help us transform our energy management into an efficient, cost-effective operation.
  • Budget cuts and shortfalls necessitated postponement of most of the energy management initiative, and the detailed energy audit was postponed indefinitelyThe school contracted to have a feasibility study to install a central heating and cooling plant and it was found at this time this would not be a cost effective expenditure.  All new buildings constructed over 6000 square feet in size will have independent electric meters to help evaluate the energy efficiency of the building.   As stated previously three of our buildings are currently being audited for energy efficiency.
  • Five new duplex dormitories designed with energy efficient systems were completedUpdate:  We are specifying and installing energy efficient heat pumps in these buildings and will continue to specify them for new construction of residential facilities.  We currently are bidding out three residential facilities with construction planned to start April 2007 and to conclude December 2008,
  • Major renovation of the HVAC system in building 544 was completedUpdate:  Work, which included computer-automated controls, was completed August 2004.
  • Plan was developed to reduce energy consumption by closing the school completely on certain school holidays and using set back temperatures for A/C systems when buildings were either not in use or had minimal occupancy.  Update:  We are currently using this plan and expanding as we install programmable thermostats where non-computerized thermostats were used.

Street, Austin, TX 78756-3494.  Office:  512-206-9126, Cell:  512-294-9560.  Email:  JohnDaude @ TSBVI.edu.