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Indiana: Lowell Tri-Creek schools learn, earn thanks to Texas firm

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Times Correspondent

BY MELANIE CSEPIGA

Sometimes you have to spend money to save money.

The Tri-Creek schools administration proved that recently when the School Board was presented with the dollars saved after a year of working with Energy Education Inc., a Texas-based firm.

Nathan Kleefisch, director of operations for Tri-Creek, told the board the money the district saved in energy costs from June 2005 to May totaled $176,080.

"Energy Education guaranteed us a $114,000 savings at this point," Kleefisch said.

Kudos went to Kent Hess, the high school teacher who took on the energy coordinator position for $14,000 a year, for his dedication to the job.

Essentially, the program is intended to change the culture of energy use one person at a time.

And people are held accountable.

"It's part of each school principal's annual evaluation," Assistant Superintendent Ray Cusic has said.

Kleefisch said after one year a 17 percent savings has been realized. He projected a net savings of more than $2.28 million by May 2015.

The benefits of the program are significant, Kleefisch said. It provides for the conservation of natural resources while paying for itself.

Once the contract expires, Energy Education will continue to provide free support.

Kleefisch told the board that costs were cut through behavior changes, training and support from Energy Education, and the reduction of equipment running times.



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