Bethlehem Central School District talks energy

The Bethlehem Central School District is being conservative.

Politics aside, district officials listened to a presentation at the Wednesday, Nov. 19, Board of education meeting on how the schools are conserving energy and saving money through new energy-saving initiatives.

The presentation detailed the steps being taken for districtwide energy efficiency. It included the results of the building project and a new energy management Web site, which helps share information and promotes "responsible practices." It also detailed plans to join a municipal purchasing consortium that would lock in low-cost fuel prices purchased in bulk by the group of participants.

According to Superintendent Michael Tebanno, the initiatives not only make financial sense, but the district is also doing its part to ensure the future of it students.

"With school budgets being so tight and the planet in peril, it makes sense that energy efficiency and associated savings are an area where we would focus," Tebbano said. "It is also important that we serve as role models for our children in these areas. I see these efforts as part of the beginning of a new era of energy and environmental consciousness at BC."

At the board meeting, district energy manager and science teacher Paul O'Reilly said the district saved more than a quarter of a million dollars because of improved heating systems in the 2007-08 school year. The new heating systems were installed as part of the district's building project.

"The new heating systems and energy efficiency measures at the buildings referenced were part of the building project, approved by voters in 2003," said Matt Leon. "The statistics are a good indication of the cost avoidances we are seeing as a result of the new systems in place at most of the [district] buildings."

The savings, O'Reilly said, which totaled $271,126, are measured as "cost avoidance," meaning the additional amount that the district would have spent if no renovations had taken place.

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