Bright ideas on energy savings

There are no lengths Matt Edwards won’t go to in order to save on energy costs for the Iowa Valley Community College District.

But that’s his job.

Edwards is the energy specialist for the college district, going through the buildings at Marshalltown Community College, Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls and Iowa Valley Grinnell regularly.

“I look through literally every inch of every building,” Edwards said.

This fine-tooth-comb approach at the college district’s energy use is paying off.

The college has reduced its energy use over the past 14 months by 18 percent, saving $241,400.

Edwards said they turn off lights when they are not needed and a big one is managing the heating and cooling, especially when certain portions of the college buildings are not in use.

“We are making adjustments to the temperatures and run times,” Edwards said. “It’s basically addressing everything relating to energy. The real money savings come from the HVAC monitoring.”

Edwards said Iowa Valley faculty and staff have been very supportive in lending a hand in energy conservation.

“We also try to educate them when we can,” he said.

The college signed a contract with Cenergistic, an energy conservation company, last year and hired Edwards as part of this process. The two-to -three year goal of the program is to reduce energy by 20 percent, so the college district is well on the way to its goal.

Edwards performs 25 to 30 building audits each week and said he works all times of the day and week to try to ensure energy isn’t wasted.

He said saving energy is not only saving money, but it is better for the environment.

“The key is to go along with a culture and behavior of being good stewards,” he said. “Being good stewards of both our money and our environment gives us a great sense of satisfaction.”