By Sally Voth -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- Putting their energy into saving energy has paid off for county schools.
Shenandoah County Public Schools Finance Director Jeremy Raley handed out Go Green awards at the Feb. 9 School Board meeting. Each elementary, middle and high school saving the most electricity and conserving the most water was recognized.
"That's something to be very, very proud of," Raley said. "We're doing our part to be sustainable."
In an interview Friday, Raley said the division formed an energy management team several years ago, and the schools' efforts are recognized twice a year.
"This time last year, we began renovation of our facilities to try to put some equipment in place to help us save," Raley said. "We've begun a pretty massive renovation where we've retrofitted lights, we've changed faucets."
New mechanical equipment -- boilers and air conditioners -- have been installed, he said.
"We've been able to experience significant reductions in usage," Raley said. "It's a school-wide effort. Everyone from a kindergarten student to a student in high school."
Across the division, $72,545 in electrical savings was realized between July and December, according to information provided by Raley. That was due to saving more than 1 million kilowatt hours.
And, by conserving about 2.2 million gallons of water, $33,743 was saved.
W.W. Robinson Elementary was recognized for reducing electricity usage by 30 percent, North Fork Middle for using more than a quarter less energy, and Stonewall Jackson High for cutting its electric consumption by 21 percent.
The elementary school's conservation saved the county $16,142.
North Fork Middle also conserved the most water among the middle schools, at 38 percent, which is the same decrease Triplett Tech saw in its water usage. Ashby-Lee Elementary cut its by more than half -- 52 percent -- which saved $6,089.
Saving energy was easy, according to North Fork Principal Shelby Kline.
"One of the really simple things that we did, particularly with the electricity, is just making sure we shut off the lights when we're not using them, and on particularly sunny days, like, for example, today, we don't even leave all the hall lights on in the hallways," she said. "We'll have every other [light] on. That significantly helps to reduce electricity.
"It's just mainly the commonsense kind of things with the electricity that we did."