School District Excels in Building Energy Efficiency

School District Excels in Building Energy Efficiency

This piece was originally published in the March 2018 issue of electroindustry.

Steve Heaslip, Account Executive, Siemens Building Technologies Division


When the East Syracuse Minoa Central School District (ESM) in East Syracuse, New York, approached Siemens for help in reducing energy costs in its seven schools and several district buildings, the request seemed fairly straightforward. However, the district wanted to not only fund the necessary building systems and energy-efficiency improvements through energy savings but also improve energy conservation efforts and incorporate alternative energy technologies.

ESM also wanted the facility improvement measures to provide energy awareness and education for its students, faculty, and staff and to create community awareness for its energy and environmentally responsible programs.


To accomplish these collective goals, ESM entered into an energy savings performance contract (ESPC) with Siemens in 2008. The ESPC incorporated energy efficiency and building system improvements such as districtwide lighting and HVAC system retrofits, new windows and doors, and a new energy management system. It also included new boiler plants in four ESM buildings and a 25 kW on-site solar power system at the high school.

“Since we were providing instruction in a digital age and in a global economy, we needed to design the building(s) to support a learning model that was focused on problem-solving, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and innovation,” recalled Donna DeSiato, EdD, ESM superintendent. “The building redesign brought us not only into this century but also into a very clear future-thinking environment—all of which has certainly been cost-effective.”


To date, ESM has realized more than $500,000 in energy savings annually, exceeding yearly goals. The installed solar panels generate the same amount of energy as 141.5 acres of decade-old trees produce. Similarly, the new boiler plants save the district as much electricity as 6.2 average American homes usually consume over the course of a year.

“Lighting, air handling, heating, and cooling—all of the energy performance areas in every building are now state of the art,” said Dr. DeSiato. “They’re synchronized to perform so that the climate within a building is optimal for student learning.”

To follow how facility improvement modifications have helped shape ESM’s learning environment, visit

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