School News: Energy saving changes coming

By Deb Henton, Ed.D., superintendent

It’s been awhile, so I thought it would be a good idea to provide an update on the school district’s energy savings program, now at the end of its third year.

The program started through a partnership with Schools for Energy Efficiency (SEE) and has been incredibly successful in North Branch. We have continued to build on each year’s success to create more and more savings for our taxpayers.

In year one we avoided $115,601 in energy costs (compared to the base year), and improved to $125,480 in year two. At the end of year three (the year ended in January of 2012), North Branch Area Public Schools had again showed improvement over the previous year, avoiding $128,304 in energy costs for the year.

That means your school district, its staff and students, have been responsible for saving taxpayers $369,385 in avoided energy costs in the last three years.

A great deal of credit goes to “Energy Elf” Becky Leuer, who has embraced the challenge of energy savings and been a tireless advocate of any and all ways to reduce energy usage in our buildings.

One such initiative became part of our budget recommendation: the district will no longer allow the use of personal refrigerators. Why? Those little college-type refrigerators use roughly 80 percent of the energy used by a full-size refrigerator!

The school district has purchased some new full-size refrigerators to provide ample space for lunches and drinks for employees who used to have personal refrigerators, and also to replace some full-size units that are old and inefficient. We expect the savings from the refrigerator changes to amount to roughly $2,394 next year, and expense payback in full in just 2.5 years.

The energy savings program at NBAPS has been a huge success and we are very proud to report on this remarkable stewardship of public dollars.

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