Editorial: High school’s green goal is admirableRosemount High School is a big old building, and it takes a whole lot to keep it heated in the winter, cooled in the summer and lit all year round. According to science teacher Veda Kanitz gas and electric bills ran $332,000 last year at RHS.
Rosemount High School is a big old building, and it takes a whole lot to keep it heated in the winter, cooled in the summer and lit all year round. According to science teacher Veda Kanitz gas and electric bills ran $332,000 last year at RHS.
That’s a big number, but Kanitz and a group of RHS students has chosen to look it as an even bigger opportunity. Thanks to a $12,770 grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency members of the Irish Green Team and others at the school will launch an effort to trim the school’s footprint by 11 percent by June of 2011.
That’s an ambitious project considering the school has already trimmed its gas expenditures by 3.2 percent and its electric bill by 8.5 percent since the district signed on with Schools for Energy Efficiency in 2007, but Kanitz believes it’s within reach. She claims one third of the district's energy expenditures last year were a result of inefficiency.
We tend to believe that. Like we said, RHS is a big building, and it’s the oldest high school in the district. It doesn’t have the motion sensors some more modern buildings have to shut off the lights when nobody is in a room, or the high-efficiency weatherproofing present in more recent construction. When you’re dealing with such a big number, little changes can add up quickly.
We are encouraged, too, by the support students and faculty have offered so far to the group behind this effort. Seventy-five teachers have signed up to receive power strips they can use to make sure electronics are not draining power when they're not in use. Another 20 or 30 have signed up for training on Moodle, an online system that allows teachers to collect assignments electronically. That should add up to significant paper savings.
It takes a lot of natural resources to keep Rosemount High School up and running, and it will still take a lot even after the Irish Green Team reaches its goal next year. But it will take at least a little bit less. And we think that's a good thing.