KSE Integrates Science with Energy Conservation
A few months ago, Kathryn Senor Elementary student Sydney Stanley didn’t know the difference between kinetic and potential energy. By being involved in KSE’s Energy Stars club, Sydney and a handful of her classmates have opened their eyes to what energy is, and how they can help their school conserve it.
Stanley says that the energy club is both fun and rewarding.
|The KSE Energy Stars gave a presentation to the Garfield Re-2 School Board in March 2011.|
“We get to have fun and learn at the same time,” she explained. “And we can help our school save money by thinking of energy saving ideas.”
Kathryn Senor Elementary is one of four pilot schools in the Garfield Re-2 School District that are working with New Energy Technology, or NET, to reduce their energy consumption. Rifle High School, Wamsley Elementary and Coal Ridge High School are also participating. NET helps public and private institutions not only find physical and mechanical areas for energy savings, but they help create a culture of energy consciousness. The partnership with NET was made possible through a Garfield New Energy Communities grant that was awarded in April, 2010.
The partnership has led to an increased awareness of energy consumption around the district by all staff. In addition to the development of energy clubs around the district, interval data meters were installed at the pilot schools and Brown and other staff members can see exactly how much energy the building uses on a daily basis – information that can’t be garnered by looking at month old energy bills.
“I can see the energy use daily,” said KSE day custodian Susan Brown. “I had no idea how we were using energy”
Brown has made changes to her daily routine like consciously keeping lights off until the last minute.
“I can open doors and begin the day by using the security lighting,” she explained. “We’re saving money. It’s amazing how much money we can save by changing a few things.”
Garfield Re-2 also began an energy incentive program this year to give back some of the energy savings to the buildings if they reach specific levels of energy reduction. So far, the two initiatives combined, have helped Garfield Re-2 save 767,525 KwH or an overall reduction of 19% district-wide and an overall reduction of 56,046 Therms of natural gas or 29% district-wide. The reduction in consumption means that overall, Garfield Re-2 has saved or avoided over $200,000 in energy costs during the first two quarters.
“Budget cuts are forcing us to look at everything, including energy use in all of our buildings,” said Director of Facilities, Craig Jay. “However, we also want to be better custodians of our buildings and the environment. We are committed to trying to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our energy use, and change the district culture regarding how people think about and use energy. Our initial results show that it saves the district money as well.”