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Schools' energy efficiency practices proving successful

$114,000 saved in pilot program at eight schools

Following a successful pilot program, the Anchorage School District is
expanding its energy conservation program to 27 schools across the district.
Each school in this year's program is above-average in their energy use per
square foot as compared to other district schools.

In 2007, eight schools actively participated in a conservation pilot
program. With no significant financial upgrades to existing structures,
schools were able to reduce electricity by 11 percent and natural gas by 6.5
percent, totaling $114,829.85 in energy savings. Staff and students at the
selected schools were able to lower energy usage by becoming more conscious
and developing better habits.

ASD Project Manager Jon Paxton said simple tasks, such as not propping entry
doors open, turning off unneeded room lights, shutting off and unplugging
electronics equipment, and minimizing use of high-energy machines, added up
to big savings.

"Energy is one of those things where every little bit helps. Nickels and
dimes, millions of times, it adds up," said Paxton.

As an incentive, the eight schools that participated in the pilot project
were offered 25 percent of the value of energy they saved. In February,
those schools were presented checks ranging from $56.25 to $8,426.75.

Paxton said saving energy, and money, is the right thing to do and he has
seen a lot of interest in participation. "People are conscious for a while,
but then they get busy and sometimes lapse out of it. We're going to try to
keep them on track."

The district spends approximately $15.5 million on electricity and natural
gas at more than 90 facilities each year. The goal of the district's energy
conservation program is to reduce usage by 10 percent.

The current program, which includes operational and infrastructure
audits, will end in June, however conservation measures will eventually be
expanded to all ASD schools and buildings.

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