A few simple actions, like turning off classroom lights, printers and computers when the room is not in use, helped Kokomo High School win an energy saving award.

Kokomo High School placed in the top 10 of 245 buildings nationwide in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star national building competition, by reducing energy use during a 12 month period.

Buildings were judged on the percent they reduced their energy use intensity, which is calculated by dividing the amount of energy a building consumes in a year by its total floorspace.

According to the Energy Star report, the EPA adjusted each building’s percentage to normalize for weather, so no building was credited or penalized due to weather changes during the year.

According to the release, Kokomo High School’s energy use decreased by 32.3 percent, for a cost savings of $442,338.

Robert McIntyre, Kokomo-Center Schools’ energy education specialist, said the energy reduction did not require replacing systems, but was the result of small changes.

“That’s the neat thing. All these improvements we’ve made so far have not involved big outlays of money for equipment. Sometimes we find things are not working appropriately. We find those things everyone assumes are working just fine that aren’t, and make adjustments as needed. We’ve been trying to eliminate waste and use the buildings as efficiently as possible.”

McIntyre monitors all Kokomo-Center buildings on a daily basis, including during times the buildings are not in use.

He said six buildings have the Energy Star label for reducing consumption. In addition to Kokomo High School, they include Central Middle School, Boulevard Elementary, Elwood Haynes Elementary, Pettit Park Elementary and Sycamore Elementary.

David Barnes, Kokomo-Center’s director of public relations, said the changes are as simple as turning off printers at the end of the day, turning off lights when a classroom is not in use, and turning computers off rather than putting them in sleep mode at the end of the day.

Barnes said former superintendent Chris Himsel initiated plans to look for energy savings, both to conserve energy and to save money, as the state began cutting funding to education.

Barnes said while the EPA estimates cost savings of about $442,000, it was closer to $400,000, which does not begin to make up for the $2 million cut from the school’s budget by the state.

While consumption may be going down, he said, the price of energy is going up.

“The savings are not near the reductions imposed on us by the state. We’d like to have more support from our state legislators.”

• Danielle Rush is the Kokomo Tribune education reporter. She can be reached at 765-454-8585 or danielle.rush@kokomotribune.com.

 

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