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Durham schools' conservation contest yields big savings

Posted November 23, 2009

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— Durham Public Schools held a competition among its 45 schools to see which could conserve the most energy and save the most cash.

Bethesda Elementary School took home the prize – $2,000, which represents a certain percentage of the money the school saved the system.

"They said if you're willing to work hard with us to save money, we're willing to share some of the savings with you," Principal Doris Walker said.

Overall, 13 schools saved nearly $100,000 in energy costs last year. That represents more power than is needed to run an elementary school for a year, school officials said.

Durham school wins energy-saving contest Durham school wins energy-saving contest

At Bethesda Elementary, creating those big savings took the help of everyone, Walker said.

"We have about 650 students and a staff of about 100, so when everybody starts thinking about it, it makes a big difference," she said.

The school got a new energy-efficient chiller, but also made smaller changes that added up: keeping outside doors closed and using fewer lights when possible.

"We have skylights, so we don't always have to have our hallway lights on," Walker said. "The gym lights take up a lot of energy. They're very powerful lights. So if we can run one bank, instead of three banks, that makes sense."

Teachers incorporated the energy-saving message into their lesson plans, challenging students to recall the steps they have taken and why. Students said they're taking that message home.

"When you turn off the lights at school, you can turn off the lights at your house," second-grader Jussaiya Baptist said.

"Don't really use the air conditioning. You can open the window. Don't waste it," second-grader Ricky Council said.

Walker said she hopes these energy conservation lessons last a lifetime.

"These are very impressionable years, and if we can teach 5-, 7- and 10-year-olds, we've got them for life," she said. "That's my goal."

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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 24, 2009

    colliedave, did you even read the Humanist article that you posted?

    First, a "religion" is a belief in the supernatural and/or a supernatural deity. So, Humanism is not a religion. Or, can you get the IRS to give them the same tax exemptions that churches enjoy? ;-)

    Second, this site says that they just want to educate everyone. And, this will combat ignorance...without "violence" and without "chaos".

    Why would anyone be against this?

    Is this what's is has come down to? ...that people don't want children to be educated?

    Here's a quote from there:
    "[education] is categorically the one thing that we must bring to our neighborhoods, our people, our families, our world, other countries...The enemy of humanism is not faith; the enemy of humanism is hate, is fear, is ignorance.”

  • colliedave Nov 23, 2009

    It is sad that the same "freedom lovers" love to take away the freedom of people who choose to walk, bike, or ride public transportation to make a difference in this world. ncwebguy

    feelings, nothing more than feelings. typical lib

  • colliedave Nov 23, 2009

    Nonsense, utter nonsense. The US is the most drilled country on the face of the earth. We've used up most of our land based oil, now we're drilling in the gulf, offshore, in Alaska, wildervb

    even a stoped clock is right twice a day. you are continually wrong. we have just discovered a massive oil find in the gulf of mexico. ANWAR is the size of the State of SC and the propoded drill site is the size of Reagan National Airport. And due the harsh conditions drilling would be only able six months out of the year. Due to the cost of oil, drilling for oil shale is now cost feasible. Yet, exo-freaks protest but continue to drive their hybrids whose batteries require mining for rare minerals. Again, blasted hypocrits!

  • colliedave Nov 23, 2009

    indoctrinating our students in the religion of humanism

    http://americanhumanist.org/What_We_Do/Education_Center/Teacher_Corps

  • mcondor Nov 23, 2009

    100 Staff for 650 students!!

    That seems high - I have no idea what the standard is, however.
    If this is standard then I know how to cut lots of expenses!

    - Mark

  • GODCHILD Nov 23, 2009

    Good, no they need some better teachers over there....

  • ncwebguy Nov 23, 2009

    A true conservative would not frown upon conserving resouces.

    Running enough gym lights to see instead of 3x that is not a "quality of life" issue. Building unnecessary refineries and excavating oil that is not in demand *lowers* the quality of life but that is exactly what "conservatives" want these days.

    How is leaving the lights on in a room no one is in a "quality of life issue"? How is driving alone and not towing anything in a gas guzzler a "quality of life" issue?

    It is sad that the same "freedom lovers" love to take away the freedom of people who choose to walk, bike, or ride public transportation to make a difference in this world.

  • wildervb Nov 23, 2009

    "consercaives want to reduce dependance on foreign oil by responsible drilling for oil within the boundaries of the US and creating conservation programs that do not change the quality of life for the average US citizen. Libs want every else but themselves to reduce the quality of life. They pay themselves for their "sins" against the environment. Blasted hypocricts"

    Nonsense, utter nonsense. The US is the most drilled country on the face of the earth. We've used up most of our land based oil, now we're drilling in the gulf, offshore, in Alaska, the far reaches of our continent. We only have so much. Responsible policy is to find ways to ween us from our dependence on oil. The surest way to reduce our quality of life would be to continue our current dependence on oil.

    Conserving energy, becoming more efficient doesn't diminish our quality of life, it makes it more sustainable for the long term.

    We should applaud the savings these schools found.

  • colliedave Nov 23, 2009

    it was supporting your country and ensuring its future by reducing dependence on foreign oil. Same exact program, different spin by the idiots of this country. cantstandgoloan

    consercaives want to reduce dependance on foreign oil by responsible drilling for oil within the boundaries of the US and creating conservation programs that do not change the quality of life for the average US citizen. Libs want every else but themselves to reduce the quality of life. They pay themselves for their "sins" against the environment. Blasted hypocricts

  • meh2 Nov 23, 2009

    I misread the headline - thought they were teaching "conservatism". I know that will never happen.

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