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Save energy, save money

Save energy, save money.

And Hastings Independent School District 200 did just that for the 2009 year.

Earlier this month, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notified the district that it has earned EPA's Energy Star recognition. Basically, that means the school district achieved a 10-percent improvement in adjusted energy consumption for the eligible facilities in the district (most of it is at the high school).

From the financial end of it, it means between $90,000 and $100,000 in energy costs saved. The effort is not done either, according to Superintendent Tim Collins, Hastings High School lead custodian Jim Huberty, and director of buildings Jeff Rother.

"These are standards set by the United States EPA," said Collins. "What we were able to do is save 10 percent in usage - natural gas, electricity."

Much of the conservation currently is being achieved at the high school, because it is a much newer building that others in the district and the upgrades are easier to install. But he and Rother stressed improvements are coming in the other buildings as well.

Rother explained that through computers, he is able to adjust, set temperatures in every classroom of the high school. When they are not in use the rooms are set at a minimum temperature. Air movement level for air quality is regulated by the state.

The district regularly looks at the figures of energy consumption and determines what can be done to save energy and costs, while ensuring the least amount of inconvenience.

"We are saving energy," Collins said. "And we are able to do things in the different areas of the building. Plus we are not limiting the use of the buildings."

Community use of the building is primarily at the high school and the middle school.

Some projects being completed this summer will also help with the energy consideration. Roof projects at the Middle School and Pinecrest Elementary School have included much-needed insulation. New windows at Kennedy Elementary School are definite energy savers.

This is an ongoing effort, Collins noted.

"Our goal is to have every building be named an Energy Star," he said.