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Editorial: Keeping eye on energy costs helps schools, our taxpayers

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Schools, just like businesses, need to keep track of their energy costs. Knowing how much raw fuel is required to operate buildings is imperative to discerning if energy efficiency is being realized.

Inefficiency means higher costs and wasteful spending. That’s not good for taxpayer-supported public schools.

Columbus residents should be relieved, though, that Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. has a better handle on its energy costs than ever before after going through the Energy Star certification process. Energy Star is a program founded in 1992 by the U.S.

Department of Energy to create a systematic approach to improving energy efficiency. The program helps businesses and individuals examine their energy use and compare it to similar buildings across the country.

Bartholomew Consolidated has learned that its schools, overall, are better than the state average for energy efficiency, and five buildings are ranked in the Top 25. Two Columbus Signature Academy campuses, Lincoln and New Tech High School, earned the highest marks in the district.

The certification process also identified some buildings that are close to certification (Parkside Elementary and Central Middle School, for example) and a couple that need significant improvement (Mt. Healthy and Schmitt elementary schools).

Bartholomew Consolidated now has an important tool for measuring schools’ energy usage and identifying where resources need to be directed to achieve greater efficiency.

One important benefit of the energy savings is that money can be redirected into programming for students.

Other schools — especially public ones — can take a cue from the Bartholomew Consolidated program and see how energy efficient they are, part of an assessment to determine whether investments such as boilers or heating/cooling systems would be wise to make.

That’s just being smart about costs and being good stewards of tax dollars.

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