District to save energy costs

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AUGUSTA – The Maine Public Utilities Commission has announced that the Auburn school system will receive $100,000 for energy efficiency upgrades made at the Auburn Elementary School.

Auburn Elementary participated in the PUC’s Efficiency Maine High Performance School Program, which encourages energy efficient designs and the installation of efficient equipment in new schools.

The program estimates that the school’s energy improvements will save $14,539 a year in reduced electric and fuel oil consumption. The savings are equivalent to removing 71.6 tons of CO2 emissions from the air.

“Schools in the U.S. spend more than $6 billion a year on energy and most schools spend more money on energy than on computers and textbooks combined,” stated Kurt Adams, PUC chairman.

“The Department of Energy estimates that we could save as much as $1.5 billion by utilizing energy efficiency in our schools. To help meet that end, the High Performance School Program provides school districts like Auburn an opportunity to incorporate energy efficiency in new school construction and save a significant amount of money,” said Adams.

One of the upgrades at Auburn involved increased access to natural lighting and better electric lighting for more consistent light in the classrooms. Studies have found that students taught in classrooms with more natural light scored as much as 25 percent higher on standardized tests than other students in the same school district. The school’s lighting upgrades will save $5,663 in electric costs a year.

The program is delivered in partnership by the PUC’s Efficiency Maine Program, the Maine Department of Education, Maine’s Bureau of General Services, the U.S. Department of Energy and Maine School Management Association.

The program provides grants for energy efficient designs for new schools and construction and installation of energy efficient equipment. Auburn Elementary is projected to save $10,398 in electric costs and $4,141 in fuel oil in its first year of operation.

For more information on the program or energy efficiency, visit the PUC’s Efficiency Maine Web site at www.efficiencymaine.com or call 1-866-ESMAINE.

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