by ZAHID ARA
In a time where schools face massive cuts, The Lake Stevens School District is doing the opposite, thanks to energy conservation. Energy Education Specialist Barb Ossowski is leading the effort. “The whole idea is when we’re not using anything its off,” said Ossowski. Aside from educating teachers throughout the year on how to reduce energy consumption, they’re asked to complete a “Winter Break Shutdown” checklist. Once those are complete, Ossowski personally double checks each school to make sure they didn’t forget anything. “Making sure the printers are off the monitors are off, the computers are off , the personal refrigerators,” she said.
Since March 2010, the district has seen a 34 percent energy reduction, which amounts to about $1.5 million in savings. Instead of going towards utility bills, that money is used going back into classrooms. “Keeping money in our own pockets for our school and our children and that’s what we’re in the business for,” said Ossowski. The effort has funded new textbooks, an AP class and spared teacher and staff positions from being cut. “We’re also being good stewards of the environment,” she said. The Lake Stevens School District was recently honored by the Environmental Protection Agency with an “Energy Star Award” for its energy efficiency, one of only four in the state with that distinction.
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