IVCCD: Committed to fiscal sustainability through energy conservation

In 2010, Iowa Valley Community College District (IVCCD) developed a new strategic agenda to guide and direct decision-making for the next three years. Six over-arching goals were established and viewed as critical to the ongoing success of the institution. In particular, Goal 6 addressed the need to “Maintain fiscal sustainability through increased accountability and transparency.” The associated objective was stated: “To optimize revenues and manage expenditures effectively.”

At the time, little did we know the extent to which we could help achieve our primary goal and objective by being more accountable for our energy consumption and, in so doing, better optimize our revenues and manage our expenditures. However, after the District researched and implemented a comprehensive energy conservation program by working with a company known as Cenergistic, we quickly realized that this key strategic initiative had the potential to save thousands of dollars annually.

Our staff has continued to work with Cenergistic to customize and deploy an energy conservation program focused on organizational and behavioral change. How we think about energy consumption and conservation at every level of the organization, and how we behave as a result, is determining a new culture that is designed to:

save dollars that IVCCD can reinvest in the stakeholders we serve,

preserve a quality learning environment for our students,

conserve energy for a positive impact on the environment and

increase the awareness to empower energy users to be energy savers.

Essentially, we are asking everyone throughout our organization to be more accountable for our energy consumption by sharing a common commitment to being responsible for the use of our limited financial and environmental resources.

Because we are asking people to change, we have had to work with the occasional resistance that often comes on the front end of making any organizational change. Understandably, people want to know if it’s working. After almost one year, our consumption of electricity has been reduced 17.3% and natural gas has been reduced by 21.2%!

We will continue to persevere through these issues and concerns because we are beginning to see indisputable data and results that clearly reveal the program is effective and helping us: 1) achieve our strategic goals and objectives, 2) create a culture of conservation, and 3) be a role model for others by proving we can be good stewards of the budget and the environment at the same time.

Chris Duree is chancellor of Iowa Valley Community College District