School district recognized for energy efficiency
The Superior School District last week received a state award for its work toward energy efficiency. Bob Drevlow of Focus on Energy presented the district with the Governor's Award for Excellence in Energy Efficiency during last week's school boa...
The Superior School District last week received a state award for its work toward energy efficiency.
Bob Drevlow of Focus on Energy presented the district with the Governor's Award for Excellence in Energy Efficiency during last week's school board meeting.
Focus on Energy is a public-private partnership that offers services and information to businesses, organizations and residences throughout Wisconsin. It also offers financial incentives and rebates for energy efficiency measures.
The governor's award recognizes organizations that focus on energy efficiency and improvement, Drevlow said.
The school district has been working for some time to incorporate technology for better energy use into its buildings.
"Bottom line -- we're pretty proud of the fact that we've got this recognition because we've done a lot of work," said Dave Korhonen, district director of buildings and grounds. He said energy efficiency has been among his goals since joining the district in 1994.
Korhonen and the staff of 12 engineers have made many improvements. The biggest project has been the addition of a direct digital control system that operates heating and ventilation. The first system was added at the high school five years ago. This system is now installed at all district school buildings.
It allows the engineers to troubleshoot any problems in the boilers and air systems and write programs that save energy, Korhonen said. District engineers also tune the boilers for top efficiency and monitor their history.
This award recognizes the efforts of the engineers, the administration and the school board, said Jeff Soderlund, maintenance supervisor.
"This award was actually earned through the whole works instead of just in one department," Soderlund said. "If the engineers hadn't done their work we wouldn't have received this award."
The school board is also an important part of receiving the award because it has approved energy upgrades and the building of new schools, Korhonen said.
"I just think we've made some good choices over the years," he said.
Through the years the district has added new roofs and insulation, replaced windows and reglazed doors in the older schools to make heating more efficient.
It has also focused on lighting.
Most incandescent bulbs in district buildings have been replaced with fluorescent bulbs.
Fluorescent lights have been changed from T12 magnetic to T8 electric lamps and ballast, which are more efficient. This lighting technology saves 25 percent on lighting costs, Korhonen said.
They've also added motion sensors and timers on lights in classrooms, hallways and building exteriors. The sensors ensure the lights are only on when they're needed, and the timers can be reprogrammed in line with daylight savings.
Technology added to fans, pumps and blowers has made these components run more efficiently as well, Korhonen said.
Superior School District is one of the schools in the Northland area that has shown widespread efforts and teamwork to accomplish energy efficiency, Drevlow said.
"It's not a matter of chance. It's a matter of hard work," he said. "I think they have achieved very excellent energy performance."
The district staff has shown attention to detail and worked hard, he said.
The district continues to work toward being energy efficient. The next big project is the replacement of the high school's three boilers this summer, Korhonen said.
Engineers have done improvements to the boilers, which are original to the building, but they are at end of their life, he said.
The district is working with Focus on Energy to get a rebate for the purchase of the boilers.
District staff members are proud the state has recognized their hard work in making the school buildings more energy efficient.
"This shows were doing our homework running our buildings," Soderlund said. "The rest of the state is looking to us as an example of what to do and how to do it."