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Given the host of responsibilities that come with overseeing a maintenance and engineering department, managers rarely can devote a disproportionate amount of time to one initiative more than the rest.
But for Bernie Morin, director of maintenance and operations with Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, a top priority has been spearheading the district's efforts to save water and energy. A key cog in the organization's conservation efforts came about four years ago, when the district completed large-scale plumbing retrofits in its oldest facilities that have generated significant savings in utility costs and water use.
"My role was to ensure the facilities maintenance organization within Northside continued a proactive approach to implementing these water-saving features and conservation efforts," Morin says. "The facilities side could suggest certain programs, but they have to be implemented by maintenance on existing campuses.
"Even though there may be a retrofit or a renovation or an addition, we still wind up inheriting a lot of it. We have an excellent say-so and working relationship with my facilities counterparts to accomplish these projects."
The maintenance and operations department worked closely with the district's facilities construction and engineering groups, as well as the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) — a public utility that provides water-conservation resources and education — to complete the plumbing retrofits efficiently and cost effectively. Now, Morin and his colleagues are looking into subsequent water-conservation initiatives, while also establishing a comprehensive maintenance program to ensure building technologies, including plumbing fixtures, perform as intended.
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