Energy efficiency nets big check for Superior School District

The district earned the money for products used in the construction of Cooper Elementary School.

Tony Menard with Focus on Energy, left, presents a check to members of the Superior School Board and district administrators Monday, July 15 at the district administration building. (Maria Lockwood /

The Superior School Board pocketed a check for more than $32,000 from Focus on Energy during its Monday, July 15, board meeting. The district earned the upfront incentive money by choosing energy efficient products for the new Cooper Elementary School.

In addition to the incentive money, the efficient upgrades -- new boilers, light fixtures, air handling units, water chiller, variable speed pumps and more -- are expected to save the district 3.8 million kilowatt hours and close to 400,000 therms (a unit of heat) over their lifetime.

The district received a similar incentive check for nearly $200,000 in February for efficient products that were installed at Superior High School during its renovation.

Because the district is a Superior Water, Light & Power customer, and the utility is part of Focus on Energy’s program, it qualified for the incentives.

“I want to say thank you for being really mindful of your energy up here and really trying to do the best for the school district and the community,” said energy adviser Tony Menard with Focus on Energy. “I’m happy to be able to present this check to you guys.”


Board member Laura Gapske said she was able to get a free smart thermostat for her home through Focus on Energy’s home improvement program.

District Administrator Amy Starzecki discussed sustainability programs the district has already put in place and future projects that are on tap.

Current highlights include the fact that water bottle fillers have been installed at Four Corners, Lakes Superior, Bryant and Cooper elementary schools and SHS. Styrofoam has been eliminated from food service purchasing and silverware is being used at Four Corners and Bryant.

The district uses sustainable, safe cleaning products generated on site and purchases about 10,000 pounds of locally-sourced produce each year from Bayfield Farms Co-Op.

Plans for the 2019-20 school year include replacing kitchen spray nozzles with low-flow sprayers, working with building clerical to eliminate styrofoam, improving signage at recycling bins and piloting hydroponic lettuce in the SHS cafeteria.

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
What To Read Next
Get Local