An Indiana school is a top contender in a federal energy-saving contest. Jackson Creek Middle School in Bloomington has reduced its energy footprint by more than a quarter.
There are 245 buildings across the country competing in the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Building Competition. The contestants are competing to reduce overall energy usage by the highest percentage.
At the contest’s midpoint, Jackson Creek Middle School was at the top of the schools category.
Drew Woods is the energy specialist for Monroe County Schools. Jackson Creek has reduced its energy usage by more than 25 percent, and Woods says most of those savings aren’t due to expensive equipment updates—just simple solutions.
“Turning the lights off, maybe using one-third of the lighting or half lighting, depending on how the switches are designed in their classroom,” he said. “We talk to them about using their blinds effectively, so reflecting sunlight and/or letting it in in the winter to warm the classroom.”
Woods says the entire school district has cut its yearly energy bills from $4 million to $2.6 million.
“That goes right back in the classroom,” he said. “It’s not without its challenges some days. There are times we’ll come in on Monday and it will take a building a little time to get cooled down so we try to monitor those and keep track of that so when the students are in their seats or they’re coming in the building the building is at least close to what the guideline temperatures are going to be for that building.”
A Louisville building—the Gray Street Medical Center—is also in the contest, but it’s not doing as well. At the midpoint, that building had INCREASED its usage by 5 percent.
The contest winner will be announced November 2.