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Salt Lake schools save green by going green

Published January 8, 2014 6:51 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Bake sales and raffles aren't the only ways to raise money for schools.

Just try turning off the lights.

East, West and Highland high schools saved more than $50,000 over five months by using less power as part of the Salt Lake City School District's Go Green Earn Green Energy Challenge. The district challenged schools to conserve energy, offering to give them 75 percent of the money they saved.

Schools saved energy by minding heating and cooling schedules and turning off lights, printers, computers and copiers when not in use. Principals enlisted students, teachers and custodians and appointed Energy Challenge ambassadors to help coordinate efforts.

The results? The schools, on average, saw more than a 21 percent overall decrease in power use compared to a five-year baseline. Combined, the schools saved 1.15 million pounds of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of taking 115 cars off the road, according to the district.

East High got to keep $14,646, West $12,806 and Highland $11,721 of the money they saved. The schools' principals will likely get to decide how to use those saved dollars, said Greg Libecci, the district's energy and resource manager.

Libecci said he hopes the challenge helps to spread the message to families and the community about the "environmental importance as well as the economic importance" of energy conservation.