Stories & Features

Keep lights off longer with switch to a team-cleaning model

Wellington Secondary, Nanaimo
Wellington Secondary in Nanaimo is part of the Nanaimo Ladysmith school district, which saved over 34,700 kWh, or $3,260, by leaning on a team-cleaning model for district facilities.

School district pairs up custodians, yields surprising savings

Emil Bock knows the value of a kilowatt-hour saved. As the energy manager at Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools, it's his team's job to lower electricity use in the district's 37 schools. However, sometimes it just happens on its own.

In 2015, the District took steps to adjust its budget and become financially sustainable, which led to a restructuring of its facilities services department. In a quest for efficiencies that would help keep the new facilities budget on track, one simple, smart change made a big difference.

In September 2015, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools moved to a team-cleaning model. Custodians who had previously worked alone in a facility at night, now worked with a colleague. Custodians spent less time in each school each night, and that added up to energy savings.

"The idea was quite simple," says Bock. "Two people working together can get the job done faster than one person working alone, and as a result the school can shut down earlier."

The scheduling change in 13 schools resulted in reduced electricity use because the lights in each school weren't on as long. The shift in scheduling resulted in mostly lighting-related savings, which Bock quantified with the help of Quantum Lighting.

In a three-month period, stretching from September 20, 2015 to January 31, 2016 the school district saved over 34,700 kWh, or $3,260, because of the team-cleaning model. The operational savings even caught Bock by surprise. "When I saw the savings, I thought to myself, why didn't we think of this sooner?"

Other benefits from the change include improved staff safety, because custodians were no longer working alone in the evening or at night, and prevention of repetitive motion injuries. Custodians could now swap duties with their cleaning partner.

"When I travel at night now," says Bock, "I notice that a lot of lights are on in buildings like office towers and stores, well into the evening hours. After our experience, I can't help but wonder if a custodian is in there alone. Team cleaning has such potential and not just for schools. Grocery stores, office buildings and hotels could benefit from team cleaning too. Any place where cleaning can happen faster, the lights can be off longer."

Help for BC Hydro's industrial customers

Switching to a team-cleaning model is just one of the many operational energy saving opportunities industrial customers can make. To identify the savings opportunities in your facility, meet with a Regional Energy Manager. To request a free energy consultation, call the business helpdesk at 1 866 522 4713. Our regional energy managers are scheduling appointments today.