September 18, 2014

AGS cutting energy costs

By James Kuch
News Editor | news@arenacindependent.com
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AuGRES — The AuGres-Sims School District has been able to reduce the cost of energy in the district thanks to a grant from the Energy Works’ Michigan Renewable Schools Program.

AuGres-Sims is one of 40 districts in Michigan selected to receive the funding, intended to help reduce the amount of energy being used by schools.

Maintenance Supervisor Mike Whyte said he applied for the grant in January of 2010, and the district has continued to make improvements in energy efficiency thanks to the grant and other funding received from the Saginaw-Chippewa Indian Tribe’s 2 percent allocation.

With the combined funding, Whyte said the district has implemented over $25,000 in energy upgrades to the district.

“The grant is a matching grant,” he said. “We pay $5,000 and Energy Works gives us an additional $5,000 to help aid us in making improvements.”

Whyte said the grant came with an audit of the schools’ energy use to inform them of areas where improvements could be made.

“The company (Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber INC.) performed an inspection and in two days we had a plan mapped out,” he said.

Jason Bing, project director for the MRSP said a technical energy analysis performed by Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber INC. provided the district with information about behavioral, operations and maintenance improvements and energy conservation measures.

“The behavioral, operations and maintenance improvements are things like shutting down areas that are not in use,” he said. “The energy conservation measures require a financial investment that will lead to energy savings and offer a quick return on investment.”

With a plan in place, Whyte said insulation was added to heating lines throughout the elementary school, high school and middle school.

“Adding insulation has saved the district between $7,000 and $10,000,” he said. “That has allowed us to place that money right back into education.”

Whyte said the district has also replaced old lighting in the high school gym and multipurpose room with a new florescent lighting system.

“We saved around $3,500 in just electrical costs,” he said.

Bing said everyone involved was motivated to improve the district.

“I have seen some hard-working folks putting in time across the state,” he said. “Mike (Whyte) and the teachers and parents of AuGres-Sims did a great job.”

Whyte said projects are still ongoing at the school.

“Right now we are replacing lights in the parking lots,” he said. “Hopefully these are changes that will help the district for years to come.”

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