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Editorial: Schools teaching by example with energy savings


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Chet Strange for The Republic / David Shroyer, a janitor at Richards Elementary School, makes his nightly rounds Jan. 9. Part of a school district-wide initiative to curb energy consumption, janitors now only leave lights on in the immediate areas they are cleaning, rather than leaving all lights on in the school while they clean.
Chet Strange for The Republic / David Shroyer, a janitor at Richards Elementary School, makes his nightly rounds Jan. 9. Part of a school district-wide initiative to curb energy consumption, janitors now only leave lights on in the immediate areas they are cleaning, rather than leaving all lights on in the school while they clean.


Energy-saving initiatives are part of the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. curriculum to teach students to be environmentally friendly adults. It seems that students also could learn in a math, science or business class about the financial impact those initiatives can have.

BCSC has reduced its annual energy bill by more than $1 million and reduced its energy consumption by more than 30 percent during the past five years. That is quite an achievement. Here is what is really important:

“Every dollar I save on heat is one that can be used on instruction,” said Charlie McCoy, BCSC energy manager.

That should be sweet music to the ears of taxpayers. And it’s validation of the school district’s energy-management program to redirect taxpayer dollars into the classroom.

The energy and cost savings have been achieved by some simple tips passed along to teachers and custodians, and some physical improvements at various school buildings in the district. For example, some tips teachers have been asked to follow include:

  • Turning off all lights in unoccupied areas.
  • Turning off computer monitors, projectors and televisions when not in use.
  • Maximizing daylight when possible and only using the amount of lighting necessary.

Custodians have been asked to turn on lights only as needed when cleaning.

New heating, ventilation and air conditioning controls at Southside and Lincoln elementary schools have resulted in

25 percent to 30 percent reductions in energy consumption.

Recent renovations at Columbus North High School included new heating and cooling systems, and occupancy sensors to turn lights on and off automatically. Energy usage at the school dropped 22 percent despite the addition of 125,000 square feet.

While those are significant strides, school officials have planned additional energy-saving improvements to school buildings. Those include:

  • Renovating existing heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment and infrastructure in Johnson Early Education Center that are mostly original from 1952.
  • Replacing 52-year-old HVAC piping at Parkside Elementary School.
  • Renovating the main gymnasium HVAC systems at Columbus East High School.

The school district has been rightfully honored for its environmentally and taxpayer friendly initiatives. Duke Energy has named BCSC a Power Partner for innovation in smart energy usage. And if you think about it, the school district has been teaching by example.

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