In commemoration of Earth Day, the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) announced Tuesday that the district has achieved more than $2.5 million in savings through a 19% reduction in energy use over three years. The reduction in energy consumption by 77,600 MMBTU’s translates into the equivalent of 4,800 tons of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere, 1,000 passenger cars removed from the road or 122,870 trees planted.
“I am pleased with the collective effort by PUSD faculty, staff and students to reduce the energy consumption by the district,” said PUSD Superintendent Jon R. Gundry. “The entire PUSD family should have a strong sense of satisfaction at having done his or her part to control energy use.”
Former PUSD high school teacher Chris Anderson has led the district’s energy conservation program. He regularly visits all PUSD campuses and facilities to conduct energy audits to ensure that energy is used only as necessary while still preserving the comfort of students and staff. He receives training from engineers and experts, who assist the district in ensuring that all energy-using systems throughout the district are operating as they should, and only when they should. Anderson works with PUSD staff to make systematic changes to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; scheduling adjustments; review utility bills and rate structures, and ensures that students and staff are comfortable during class time, but that energy isn’t wasted.
“It’s important for all of us to save energy,” said Anderson. “By reducing our consumption, we save money and reduce our carbon footprint. While the program has started strong, we still have more to do.”
The cost of utilities is the second largest budget line-item for Pasadena USD, and the prices for electricity, natural gas, and water have steadily increased over the past few years. To combat these rising energy and utility costs, the district implemented a comprehensive organizational-behavior based energy conservation program throughout all its buildings and campuses. The conservation program has saved taxpayer dollars, saved jobs and preserved important programs while saving vital natural resources. Pasadena USD’s energy conservation program is projected to save $11.2 million through the first ten years of its energy conservation program.
PUSD’s green efforts go beyond conserving energy. Among the efforts led by students and staff include a solar project and composting at Don Benito, beautiful gardens at Jackson, Cleveland, Field and Longfellow, student organized recycling at Hamilton, organic soap making and an Earth Day festival at Sierra Madre, a new recycling program at Washington, a green team at Altadena and many others. Many of these projects have been inspired by the district’s Green Living curriculum and Green Living teacher Erin Musick.
PUSD’s green living projects will be on display May 3 at the City of Pasadena Earth and Arts Festival. The community is encouraged to visit PUSD’s green living booth along with a booth for Muir High School (home of an environmental science academy and Muir Ranch) and the district’s new magnet schools.
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