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S.Col is a 'star' energy saver

— “I think a common misconception about energy conservation is they’ll freeze or be in the dark but our program always has been that you use what you need, but on the flip side whenever you see the opportunity to turn something off and save, please do that as well,” said Brown. “Save millions of dollars, pennies at a time.”

Turning off the district’s 1,500 computers at night saves the district about $100,000 a year. Building lights are also shut off at night, except for a few needed for security cameras.

The district saves more than $18,000 a year with smart vending machines. There’s a device on the vending machines that monitors the temperature outside and can detect a body standing in front of it.

“If (nobody) is there it can shut off the compressor on it,” said Brown. “Considering we have 40 vending machines in the district, that alone was a significant savings.”

The lighting in every gym was replaced with more energy efficient bulbs, a practice now commonly used but more cutting edge when the district implemented it in 2003.

“We were one of the first districts in the area to put that in the gyms,” said Brown.

Buying Energy Star replacement products for computers or copiers is a simple move that can save money in the long run.

“They’re not bought to replace things until it’s time to replace them, so we’re not adding a new expense,” said Brown.

Tracking the district’s energy conservancy has been easier with the EPA energy management program, but it also lets the district gauge how it’s doing against other school districts, businesses and similar participants.

“You can … compare to other similar buildings throughout the U.S. to see how you fare and through that benchmarking can see, ‘Am I doing better or worse? How can I look to improve?’” said Brown. “Right now, our buildings through the Energy Star certification are among the top 25 percent in the country in terms of least energy usage.”

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