A Bright Idea
MISD Utilizes Energy-Saving Plan to Conserve Resources
February 1, 2018
Each year, MISD spends thousands of dollars on technology, sports equipment and supplies. Yet, one of the most basic, and scarcest, commodities on earth costs more than all of them: energy.
In June 2012, MISD partnered with an energy conservation company to decrease overall utility usage and operations cost. The district has saved 52,105,300,000 watts of energy and 8,387,137 dollars since then.
“Energy is finite, and as the population in Texas is projected to continue increasing for the foreseeable future, we have a responsibility to use it as wisely as possible,” Kelly Campbell, MISD Energy Education Specialist, said. “We also have a financial responsibility to the MISD taxpayers to use the money wisely that they’ve entrusted to us.”
The cost of utilities makes schools an expensive entity. A single school bus can cost $100,000, a new teacher’s salary costs about $55,000 and a tutor costs about $25 per hour. A new school building can cost millions, as the median high school costs $235.29 per square foot and $49,000 per student.
“Our program makes it easier for the district to pay for these things that enhance the student experience,” Mr. Campbell said. “That make Mansfield ISD a great place to live, learn, and teach.”
The cost of using energy not only burdens budgets, but energy use also comes at the expense of the environment. Energy releases CO2 and overtime has created a greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect occurs when the buildup of greenhouse gases traps heat inside the Earth’s atmosphere, causing the overall temperature to increase. MISD’s energy conservation plan has reduced the CO2 output by 29,380 metric tons – the equivalent to taking 6,121 cars off the road each year.
“Reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the air is really important,” junior Molly Rea said. “We really need to stop burning as much fossil fuels as we currently are doing.”
As humans, we use energy in everyday life. We need energy for everything from taking a shower to opening the refrigerator door. The average annual amount of electricity people use totals to 10,766 kilowatt hours – an average of 897 kilowatt hours per month. The average amount of water used by a person comes to 80 to 100 gallons per day. The district reduced water usage by 500,000,000 gallons through their new program.
“Reducing our power consumption means that there’s more money to use on staff and students instead of sending it to utility companies,” Campbell said. “That there’s less of a strain on the power grid, and when less energy is required, there are fewer CO2 emissions to go along with it.”
Last April, MISD received the Texas Environmental Excellence Award from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Over the last 25 years only one school district has won this award in the category of Innovative Management and Operations: MISD
“We don’t need to worry about saving the earth – we need to worry about saving the people,” Enviromental Science teacher Michelle Fagan said. “If things continue the way they’re going and we don’t make any changes people are going to starve, there’s gonna be a lack of water, there’s going to be global conflict over the remaining resources.”
Teachers help at school by shutting down computers at the end of the day and keeping doors closed during instruction so AC and heating aren’t running longer than they must. The district puts some of the money they’ve saved back to portions of the campus such as buses and teacher salaries.
“I think [the energy program] is a great start. I think [MISD] did a really good job of encouraging people to turn off stuff when they’re not using it,” Ms.Fagan said. “There’s benefits to the campus and to the faculty for everybody being in compliance with the energy shutdowns.”
People in the community can also help conserve energy by turning off the water while brushing their teeth, limiting showers to five minutes, turning off lights/TVs/computers when they’re not using them and turning the AC off when they leave the home.
“Everybody do one thing,” Ms.Fagan said. “One raindrop does not a flood make, but a whole bunch of rain drops make a flood. So if everybody does one thing it will help.”
MISD earned ENERGY STAR’S Partner of the Year Award for Sustained Excellence- one of only five school districts in the nation and the only district in the state of Texas to do so. The district earned the award through their measurable and sustainable energy conservation program. MISD estimates they will save a total of $18 million with this project by 2022.
“This is simply the right thing to do for the resident taxpayers and the students,” Mr. Campbell said. “This is a program that, if done right, benefits the environment and the bottom line. I tell people that, regardless as to whether you like the green of the trees or the green of the money, whatever your motivation for supporting this effort, thank you!”