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Schools saving more than just money

Andrew Leak made an appearance at the Chambers County School Board meeting Wednesday night, taking a brief respite from his duties as Five Points’ new principal to give a report on the current state of the district’s energy usage.

He reported that everyone, with the help from Schneider Electric in 2015, was doing a great job. No school has saved under 30 percent energy usage and the district as a whole has saved just shy of $4 million since the program began in 2007.

The numbers alone speak for themselves, and Principal Leak described how these savings were made possible thanks to teachers and staff focusing on “the things our grandmothers told us to do” like turning lights off when we leave the room and unplugging unused equipment.

The obvious reaction to the continuous success of the energy program is excitement over how good it is for Chambers County’s bottom line. Saving money is always a positive thing, especially when those savings go directly back to the school system our area youngsters attend.

What is even more promising, though, is the school district’s excitement for energy preservation. As said, it comes down to saving money, but saving energy does so much more than that. The carbon footprint that the school system leaves is lessened when every school saves as much as they do. The energy being saved is equivalent to, as Leak put it, removing emissions from 2,377 cars for a year or planting 292,534 trees. That’s a huge step in the right direction towards lightening the burden on our ever changing climate.

By turning the energy saving initiative into a competition of sorts, The Chambers County district is making energy preservation something to have fun with and be proud of. As residents of the area, we should also be proud of the fact. In taking small steps like the faculty and staff do every day, we can save money and maybe even the planet, too.