Lori Lewis’ job is to teach that less is more.
Natomas Unified’s new Environmental Support Manager vows to work tirelessly throughout the year to promote the message that less energy consumption means more environmental benefits and more savings to benefit the District, students and staff. She’ll also show how it can be done.
“My role will be to cut energy consumption and redirect those funds,” Lewis said, estimating that it’s possible to cut NUSD energy use by more than 10 percent, perhaps up to 20 percent in coming years.
Though she’s a newcomer to NUSD, Lewis said that students and staff throughout the district will know her by year’s end or “I’m not doing my job.” Her first big districtwide push will occur next month during national “October is Energy Awareness Month.”
Energy use encompasses electricity, gas, water and waste – and California’s drought has focused a bright spotlight this year on the need to conserve valuable resources. So the time may be ripe for Lewis’ belt-tightening message.
Even little energy-saving measures can make a big difference when taken by large numbers of people, she said. Comfort and safety of students and staff come first, absolutely, but that still leaves plenty of room for conservation, Lewis said.
“We’re going to try to show people ways, little ways, in their own little space, their own rooms, that add up districtwide” to higher energy savings and lower utility costs, Lewis said.
Former energy manager for San Juan Unified School District, Lewis has big plans to launch NUSD campus green teams, recycling programs, perhaps bike-to-work events.
She’ll also utilize assemblies, classroom speakers and other methods of spreading the message that conserving energy is everyone’s responsibility. By teaching students that less energy used at home, school and work means less stress on the environment, Lewis hopes to launch lifelong habits in conservation.
“Future students, future jobs, our future environment will be impacted by the decisions we make today,” Lewis said. “So I think we have an obligation as an educational institution to help our students understand energy, sustainability, and how their every-day actions will affect our future – and their future.”
SIMPLE ENERGY-SAVING TIPS
Lori Lewis offers these simple energy-saving tips pending implementation of District energy management programs and development of comprehensive guidelines for energy conservation and building management:
1) Keep doors and windows closed when air conditioning is on.
2) Use natural lighting whenever possible or only one light switch if multiple switches are available.
3) Turn off computers, monitors and printers at the end of each day.
4) If possible, set up your work station so that all your electrical equipment is plugged into a power strip and turn it off each night.
5) Close window treatments in each room.
6) Report any leaking plumbing fixtures, sinks, toilets or irrigation.
7) Report any unnecessary lights staying on during daylight hours.
8) Recycle paper, bottles and cans.