Kyle Lucas works to help local schools reduce their energy consumption and help kids learn responsible energy usage.

He’s worked for Hardin County Schools for almost 13 years and has been the energy auditor/manager for three years.

Before that, he worked with HVAC/Kitchen maintenance for HCS.

“I gravitated to this position when the opportunity arose because it peaked my interest,” Lucas said.

He enjoys math and saving money, he said.

“Some would even say that I squeak when I walk,” he joked. “But seriously, math was always my favorite subject in school and it has a lot to do with the day to day as an energy auditor.”

The other reason was that he was intrigued by the school’s Trane Building Automated System and the ability to manage a buildings way of operations to help save money on utilities and maintenance costs.

“This was something that I had gathered as a maintenance tech but just didn’t have time to focus on,” said Lucas, 35. “And because of my familiarity with the BAS and mechanical equipment in the schools, I felt like this job was something that I was made to do.”

The first few years he was in the position he looked for ways to lower energy usage and cut out unnecessary energy consumption while there was no one in the buildings.

“That required many days combing through our BAS to implement better HVAC, plumbing and lighting equipment schedules and controls,” he said. “Also managing utility bills and looking for ways of renegotiating rate schedules and cancelling old contracts that better served what we were actually using from the utility companies.”

He helped to make LED lighting upgrades at the schools as they needed repairs. A major change was converting Meadowview Elementary to an all LED school leading it to be Energy Star Certified last year, he said. .

Currently, the electrical maintenance team at J.T. Alton Middle School is working on LED tube replacement throughout the building and he’s hoping that school will also get the same results as Meadowview.

“This is important because any energy conservation that we can accomplish can not only lower our carbon footprint which saves the planet from harmful greenhouse gases but it can also lower our utility costs so that we can take that money back to the classroom,” he said. “And with utility rate increases this is why we have to stay on top of how our buildings are operating on a daily basis.”

It’s important for school students to learn and help implement energy conservation because they are the future, he said. By learning about it now, they can have awareness and better energy habits to help make their world better.

“That’s why we have encouraged Green Teams at each school to help pass on these types of energy conservation tactics to help educate and remind staff and students of its importance,” he said.

As energy manager, Lucas has decreased energy usage and demand at school facilities and focused on building strong green teams, said Joe Stuecker, director of building and grounds.

Stuecker said the green team program monitors energy use of the school by doing walk-throughs of their school and checking to make sure energy isn’t being wasted by doing things like looking for lights and other devices being left on or open windows. The program, he said, gets kids involved.

“Kyle works hard every day to ensure that Hardin County Schools are operating at peak performance not just for energy efficiency but to deliver the highest quality educational setting for students,” he said. “Buildings that are comfortable and have adequate ventilation enhance student learning and Kyle works with our HVAC and preventive maintenance teams to make sure that all of our schools provide students with a safe and comfortable environment for learning while being fiscally responsible through energy management.”

During Lucas’ leadership, schools have received recognitions for energy conservation.

Cecilia Valley, Creekside, G.C Burkhead, Meadowview and Vine Grove Elementary received 2020 Energy Star recognition. Harshaw Trane (now Trane Technologies) presented EC3 and North Park Elementary with the Reducing the Energy Intensity Award.

Lucas said it’s his team of HCS students and staff that have helped make these things possible.

“The driving force of my job is to continue to see the annual cost of utilities for HCS go down and to help educate the importance of good energy practices to better help everyone,” Lucas said. “And I guess one particular goal of mine would be to eventually have all schools that meet Energy Star criteria become Energy Star Certified.”

Cathy Cross, Supervisor of Maintenance Services said Lucas is dedicated to his “faith, family, friends and Hardin County Schools.”

“Kyle demonstrates a strong work ethic and it is because of what a genuine person he is,” Cross said. “His co-workers daily look to him for advice and guidance on how to properly repair things and soak up his knowledge of where things are and the tricks to get it back up and running.”

He maintains professionalism at all times and is a great representative of HCS, she said.

“I am truly blessed to have Kyle not only as a member of our team here at Buildings and Grounds but as a good friend,” she said.

Outside his work in the schools, Lucas has always enjoyed coaching in children’s sports. He coaches his oldest son, Conner, in the E’town Area Baseball Commission.

“It’s important to me because I believe a lot can be learned from being a part of a team,” Lucas said. “Not only the friendships and memories that are made, but the importance of working together as one and realizing that hard work does pay off. “

Win or lose, he said it’s important in baseball and life to do your best and that way you’ll never have regrets.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1416 bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1416 bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.