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Graham Mesa Students Learning About Light Readings

Norm Brown came in to talk to the GME Energy Club about  lighting requirements for the hallways and classrooms. Students discovered that there is a minimum standard for the amount of light that must be in a classroom and in the hallway. Norm showed the students how to use a light meter to test each space, and the students discovered that our hallways and classrooms were already near the minimum amount required.  Thanks Norm!

Thanksgiving Shutdown

Empowered Teams throughout Re-2 spent last week preparing for one of the major savings opportunities of the year, Thanksgiving break. With nine days in a row of no school approaching, the Empowered students and teachers worked hard during the week to encourage teachers and staff to shutdown energy usage as much as possible over break by turning off and unplugging everything possible after classes ended on Friday. The teams hung posters, sent out flyers and checklists, and gave verbal reminders. Some even stayed after school on Friday to walk around classrooms and help turn off and unplug. Good work, teams! Be sure to take a look at the interval data graphs after break and see the results of your efforts!   

Highland Elementary student helps shutdown a classroom

A Community of Savings

To celebrate Coal Ridge High School’s amazing performance in the EPA’s National Building Competition and October as Energy Awareness Month, the students of Garfield Re-2 School District are challenging the local business communities of Rifle, Silt and New Castle, Colorado to join them in conserving energy with ENERGY STAR. The students and the entire district are “Walking this Talk”, evidenced by achieving $335,400 in avoided energy costs last year. Take the challenge. Join the students, jcpenney and ENERGY STAR by pledging to take action and reduce energy waste in your business. You will find the Pledge form on Garfield Re-2’s Energy Center located at: www.re2energycenter.com. 

At Garfield Re-2 School District, what started out as facility-based energy management program has taken on a new life, its own life. This new life is fueled by students, teachers and custodians with a passion to make a real difference in their school’s operating budget that in turn has a positive impact on our environment. Driven by last year’s success, the district is now on path to become the leader in Colorado schools with ENERGY STAR. Thanks to the high-effective partnership with the EPA and ENERGY STAR, Garfield Re-2 is showing all school districts a smarter way to manage and reduce a large operating expense that keeps more resources in the classroom and their local economy during these difficult economic times. In essence, Garfield Re-2 is changing the way America’s schools consume energy.

This did not happen overnight or without help from key partners. In May 2010, Garfield Re-2 School District launched a four school ENERGY STAR Pilot Project with a $15,000 grant from the Garfield New Energy Communities Initiative (Garfield County, CLEER, Colorado Department of Local Affairs and the Governor's Energy Office) using the NET data system, The ENERGYCENTER®. The ENERGY STAR Pilot Project's first year performance was nothing short of spectacular, reducing energy use by 22%. The foundation of this advanced energy management solution has two main cornerstones: 1) superior data, and 2) full and actively engaged people at each school.

In April 2011, the district expanded the ENERGY STAR program to include all ten of its schools. Note: During the pilot project for the four schools, the new management practices being implemented with the pilot schools were also adopted and implemented in the other six schools.

In May 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched its 2nd Annual National Building Competition, and Coal Ridge High School was accepted as an official contestant. A wonderful transition started as the students of Coal Ridge actively participated in managing the use of energy in their school. Supported by the district's Green Team, Coal Ridge students launched their own awareness and empowerment campaign called Operation Shutdown. On May 19th, the other nine schools in the district, along with over thirty local businesses, joined in, and from 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm, all participants operated their building using minimal power. This logo is what the students created to support their efforts in securing support from the local business community for ENERGY STAR’s Operation Shutdown.

In September 2011, Craig Jay, Director of Facilities, reported to the school board that the district as whole avoided $335,000 in energy costs  over the last twelve months (electricity reduction of 21% and a natural gas reduction of 18%). With all ten schools on the superior data system (Garfield Re-2's EnergyCenter), all ten schools in the district now have an ENERGY STAR Rating of 75 or greater, becoming only the second district in all of the 178 districts in Colorado to have achieved this prestigious distinction.

On November 2nd, the EPA will announce the winners of this year’s exciting contest. Clearly, Coal Ridge High School has a shot at winning the competition with a 24-point improvement, as seen in the graph below. Coal Ridge is now an official ENERGY STAR Certified school. 

ENERGY STAR Partnership

The EPA’s ENERGY STAR program provides our District a solid foundation and direction for first identifying energy waste in our schools and then taking action to eliminate the waste. ENERGY STAR’s Guidelines to Superior Energy Management is a proven approach to help any organization reduce its energy use. When combined with using a building’s ENERGY STAR Rating monthly to focus all parties on improving the rating, everyone gets involved and energy waste is driven from the building, which in turn significantly lowers cost and the amount of Greenhouse Gases put into our atmosphere. We at Garfield Re-2 School District recommend everyone visit ENERGY STAR'S Guidelines for Superior Energy Management and learn how this wonderful program can help your organization and/or your home save energy.

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