4:05pm

Fri September 2, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

School Cuts Energy Use by Half

An area elementary school is being honored for its efforts to go green. Rosa Park Elementary was rewarded with a visit from Mayor Jim Gray and Congressman Ben Chandler. When students and staff at Rosa Parks Elementary decided to make their school greener, they set what they thought was a realistic goal - a ten percent reduction in overall energy use, saving the school around 15 to 20 thousand dollars. But a year later Principal Leslie Thomas took a look at the numbers. 

"When the 52-thousand figure appeared on the data sheet, I was very surprised," she said. 

All told, Rosa Parks had managed to reduce its total energy consumption by 47 percent. Going beyond the usual methods like swapping out light bulbs, the staff armed students with post-it notes they could stick on doors and computers to remind everyone, even teachers, when they were wasting energy. On hand to award the school with an Energy Star plaque, Congressman Ben Chandler said it's initiatives like these he wishes President Obama would highlight in his speech on jobs next week. 

"I'd like him to talk about this because I think this is one of the keys. I think this is one of the best ways to go about solving that problem," Chandler said. 

That problem: an unemployment rate that's expected to hover around nine percent through the next presidential election. Chandler says he's glad the president is addressing jobs, but wishes he had focused on the issue sooner.