Archive for Thursday, April 22, 2010

USD 204 marks Earth Day by conserving energy

April 22, 2010

While the world celebrates Earth Day this month, Unified School District 204 faculty, staff and students can participate as well, each one with a strong sense of satisfaction at having done his or her part to control energy use.

USD 204 has an active energy conservation program that has already achieved more than $913,000 savings through a 29 percent reduction in energy use over 65 months. That savings translates into significant numbers for Earth Day, too.

Since USD 204 began the program, energy consumption has been reduced by 67,000 Million British Thermal Units. That reduction translates into the equivalent of 8,969 tons of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere, or 1,610 passenger cars removed from the road, or 229,397 trees planted.

For Earth Day, USD 204 plans to continue its efforts, and invites the public to join in. There are a number of resources available on the Internet that can help individuals learn how to save energy in their own homes. Individuals or businesses can also bring recyclable paper products to the big green Abitibi bins located on the grounds of each school. Abitibi is in the middle of a paper drive that provides even more funding to each school, so now is a good time to clean out that garage or basement of old papers and magazines.

It’s important for all of us to save energy. While most of the time we discuss it in terms of saving money, for Earth Day we encourage you to be concerned with our natural resources. Being good stewards of both our money and our environment gives us a great sense of satisfaction.

The cost of utilities is the second largest budget line-item for USD 204, and the prices for electricity, natural gas, water and sewer have steadily increased over the past few years. To combat these rising energy and utility costs, the district entered into a partnership with Energy Education to implement a comprehensive people-based energy conservation program throughout all its buildings and campuses. Energy Education guarantees the conservation program will save taxpayer dollars, save jobs and preserve important programs while saving vital natural resources.

Bonner Springs-Edwardsville School District’s energy conservation program is projected to save $1.5 million through the first ten years of its energy conservation program. Had the district not acted to reduce consumption, this amount would have been added to the already strained district budget and would have meant more cuts and fewer programs for our children.

Energy Education’s innovative Transformational Energy Management process trains client personnel to implement behavioral and organizational change that substantially reduces energy consumption without the purchase of new equipment. The program is funded solely and rapidly by the savings it generates, allowing clients to redirect saved energy dollars to other priorities. In 24 years, Energy Education has worked with more than 1,000 educational and ministry organizations, helping clients save over $2 billion in utility costs. Energy Education was named 2009 and 2010 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. USD 204 is a 2009 EPA Energy STAR Leader with multiple Energy STAR labeled buildings.

— Jim Hann is a fifth-grade teacher at Bonner Springs Elementary School and energy manager for USD 204.

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