ATLANTA, June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- While most school districts across Georgia are scrambling to cut costs to meet budget crunches, Marietta City Schools (MCS) are not only cashing checks for new instructional materials but passing thousands of dollars in savings onto the district thanks to a $51,000 cost reduction by energy conscious students and teachers.
The savings are the result of a "Save-A-Watt" energy conservation program launched by MCS last September in partnership with Marietta Power & Water and Atlanta-based APOGEE Interactive Inc. The program was designed to decrease electrical consumption and identify sustainable energy conservation methods among MCS elementary and secondary schools that so far has resulted in the $51,000 in energy cost savings for the 2009/2010 school year.
The top energy-saving schools shared in a portion of those savings, based on their own school's performance. Checks designated for instructional purposes were presented at the MCS Annual Teacher of the Year and Employee Awards Ceremony in late May.
Sawyer Road Elementary took top honors for cutting its energy use by nearly 30 percent and received an $11,275 award check. Marietta High School achieved second place with a 16 percent energy reduction and $7,880 award, while Marietta Sixth Grade Academy placed third with 10 percent energy savings and a $1,550 check.
Using smart meters from ITRON, Marietta Power & Water and APOGEE tracked electricity use and posted results by school, by week and by month on a dedicated "Save-A-Watt" website.
"Our teachers took this contest to heart and encouraged 'green behavior' from our students," said Dr. Emily Lembeck, Superintendent of Marietta City Schools. "Turning off the lights, computers, TV monitors and interactive white boards became second nature for everyone and the results showed."
According to district teachers, the learning and behavioral benefits from the challenge extend beyond the school year and school walls as many of them reported that their students took the renewed emphasis on energy conservation home. "The students are teaching their families how to save energy," said Susan Pleak, a science teacher and "green" team leader at Sawyer Road Elementary School. "The students have internalized it and they're doing it because they believe it's the right thing to do."
"Energy conservation is becoming more and more a main stream issue emphasized even more strongly by the recent Gulf oil spill," said APOGEE co-founder Joel Gilbert. "Creating a website where faculty and students can go online to see results of their behavior not only provides students greater energy awareness but helps fuel the competitive spirit that exists in all of us."
APOGEE Interactive Inc. (www.apogee.net) is a leading provider of online energy efficiency solutions to energy utilities. Founded in 1994, APOGEE's energy analysis applications are currently in use by more than 450 utilities across the US, reaching millions of consumers daily. APOGEE's clients span a wide range of leading investor-owned, public power and cooperative energy companies including Marietta Power & Water, Southern Company (SO), Cobb EMC, Con Edison (ED), BGE (CEG), NSTAR (NST), American Electric Power (AEP), Entergy (ETR), the SMUD, TVA, Salt River Project and Jackson EMC.
SOURCE APOGEE Interactive Inc.