Wisconsin schools produce energy savings for fourth consecutive year

A new energy efficiency program has helped the schools of Marshfield, Wisconsin, save over $500,000 over four straight years.

The Marshfield News-Herald, a local news source, reports that new eco-friendly additions implemented in the Marshfield School District – such as upgraded lighting fixtures in three elementary schools and modified air handlers in the high school – helped to yield over $18,000 in just the last year alone. The Environmental Protection Agency bequeathed the district with its ENERGY STAR Leader status for reducing its energy consumption by over 30 percent since 2005.

"In 2008, there were some huge gains," Rom Sturomski, the schools' director of buildings and grounds, told the source. "Now we have things so dialed in after five years, but we're still squeezing out $18,000, that's really good."

According to the report, from between 2005 and the 2008-09 school year, Marshfield schools racked up approximately $900,000 in annual utility expenses. The 2012-13 school year saw that amount drop to by nearly one-third to $635,000. Energy efficiency has also helped the district cut back on carbon dioxide emissions by over 1,700 metric tons, the equivalent of what 44,300 trees could consume over a decade.

Looking to the future, officials have spent the summer replacing 75 percent of the middle school's single-paned windows with more efficient ones and will be using next summer to overhaul the building's heating and ventilation. For now, according to Sturomski, the best thing schools can do to improve energy efficiency is educate staffers about small but meaningful measures, like shutting off the lights in empty rooms.

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