A focus on energy conservation in school buildings has saved taxpayers a million dollars since the Baldwinsville School District began the program in 2000, according to Steven Rosenberger, superintendent of buildings and grounds.
Rosenberger and Michael Oemcke, energy coordinator for the school district, presented plaques to five school principals within the district during Monday night's school board meeting. Each principal received the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star designation this year. Last year, Durgee Junior High school was the first building in the district to earn this national distinction. This year, Ray Middle school and McNamara, Palmer and Van Buren elementary schools were added to the list of the top 25 percent of school buildings in the nation in terms of energy performance.
Oemcke paid tribute to the custodians, teachers, support staff and administration for their diligence in controlling temperatures and turning off lights, computers and other equipment that are not in use. As the principals and staff members from the schools arrived for the meeting, some consulted with Oemcke about ideas for sustaining and further reducing their energy use.
The Energy Star designation is based on formulas that take into account total energy use, electricity use, heating fuel use, the number of students in the building, building size, efforts to conserve energy, as well as state and national averages. Energy efficiency relates not only to environmental protection, but also to dollars saved in electrical, heating and cooling costs. The upcoming district budget includes upgrades that will further maximize conservation.
Furthermore, the energy systems of Baker High School and Elden Elementary school are linked and the usage cannot be calculated separately at this point. A proposed upgrade will allow for separate tracking of energy use, and it is expected that these buildings will also receive the Energy Star designation.
Only eight school districts in New York State received this national distinction.