Energy, Sustainability, and Facility Heroes are the people who work tirelessly each day to help curb energy use to reduce carbon impact on the environment and increase their organization's savings. In this series, we highlight different Heroes to both inspire you and impart useful best practices. We interviewed George Radtke from Frisco Independent School Districts to learn more about his role and energy initiatives.
1. Who are you?
My name is George Radtke. I’m the Director of Energy Management for Frisco ISD, the fastest growing school district in the country. This is my 30th year in Frisco ISD. We’ve grown from having three buildings and 1,100 students in 1986 when I started as a high school science teacher to having 84 buildings and over 58,000 students.
2. What's your inspiration? How did you get here?
My inspiration has always been the students. Seeing students learn and achieve is the best feeling an educator can have. After teaching and being an assistant principal, I was asked to start an alternative education program. I started the Student Opportunity Center and was principal there for 7 years. The superintendent wanted me to learn about energy management and to start our first energy management program. I took what I learned from being an educator, and now I have been doing this for 10 years.
3. Describe your role and responsibilities at your organization.
My role is to keep up with all the utility bills and to make sure the buildings are running as efficiently as possible. I also do the utility budgeting for all the buildings. We track the energy use for each building in the district. Beyond all that, I also help organize competitions between the schools to reduce energy throughout the year.
4. What's a tangible impact you've seen from your work?
I think the largest impact is the amount of money we have saved as a school district. The money goes right back to the district, so the savings from energy become more tangible when they’re reinvested. Because we have this department, more people are aware of the difference they can make in reducing energy use.
5. How has Lucid or BuildingOS helped you achieve your goals?
We have had tracking software since I started the program 10 years ago, but previously the only people that saw the usage was the principals and others I sent reports to. Using BuildingOS and our Storyboard, anyone can see how each school is using their energy and this has been very educational for the students. BuildingOS has also allowed us to set up alerts so when something out of the ordinary happens in a building, we get an email and can check it out. We’ve had several instances where BuildingOS alerted us that buildings were running when they were supposed to be off, either from a scheduling error or a software issue.
We have also used BuildingOS to run a competition between all our schools to see who can reduce their energy use the most. We have had three of these competitions and have saved the district over $600,000 in electrical costs over the last year. Through dashboards in particular, BuildingOS has been great at getting the schools involved in energy savings. We even had schools send in videos that show what they are doing to save energy. Those videos are posted on the schools’ dashboard.
6. What advice do you have to share with others working on similar initiatives?
I would say to be patient in getting everything set up and working. It’s worth waiting for. I would also recommend getting real time electrical data if possible. And don’t be afraid to reach out to Lucid for help - they are very responsive and helpful with any issues or questions that come up.