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GH schools zap $1.1M from energy costs

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:49 PM
kwagner@grandhaventribune.com 616-842-6400 ext. 226

Throughout the past three years, Grand Haven Area Public Schools has saved about $1.1 million in natural gas costs.

“We knew we would get savings, but I didn’t expect to see a quarter-million a year,” said Donna Bylenga, the district's business director.

Although the lower cost of natural gas has helped with the savings, Ted Rescorla, the school district's director of operations, said its usage districtwide has been more than cut in half since 2008.

The district used the bond funds to update its boilers, install energy-efficient windows and doors, switch to one central water heater per building, and add new boilers and temperature controls in most buildings.

Rescorla said buildings that already had newer and efficient systems didn't receive replacements.

Bylenga said $22 million of the $29 million bond went toward operation costs, and the rest funded busing and items like new roofs.

Superintendent Keith Konarska said they can't thank the community enough for its support of the bond four years ago.

“The ongoing savings could not be occurring at a better time,” he said.

Even before the district began installing energy-efficient products, Rescorla said costs were decreasing stemming from efforts with their Buc$ Energy Program, which started in 2007. For the program, Rescorla said staff and students helped identify ways buildings could become more efficient, such as turning lights off when rooms are empty and fixing leaking faucets.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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