Marshall County School District Looks to Decrease Power Usage

Marshall County has a focus on green initiative

Photo by Drew Parker Lloyd Earnest, energy management specialist for Marshall County Schools, assesses the school district’s energy use during 2016.

MOUNDSVILLE — Since embarking on a journey to better energy efficiency at the beginning of the millennium, Marshall County Schools officials have saved more than $7 million through a cost avoidance program for utilities.

According to Lloyd Earnest, energy management specialist for Marshall County Schools, the district spent more than $16.4 million on energy costs since from 2000 through December, as opposed to an expected almost $24 million. That means a total savings of about $7.5 million, with more than $600,000 of those savings coming from the 2015-16 school year alone.

The costs include utility payments for electricity, gas, water and sewer costs.

Earnest added that throughout the years, the district has also saved 56,579 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the environment, which is the equivalent of taking just more than 10,000 passenger cars off the road for one year, or growing more than 1 million tree seedlings.

Earnest attributes the number changes to cooperation from staff and advances in technology. A former teacher at Cameron High School, Earnest took on his current position immediately following his initial retirement.

According to Earnest, the savings have been the result of a commitment to LED and motion-sensor lighting, high-tech heating and cooling systems and more.

“We’re getting very close to lowering our energy consumption by a third since beginning this in 2000,” Earnest said. “I just hope to continue on the path we’ve been on.”

According to Marshall County Schools Superintendent Michael Hince, each school receives funds from money saved through energy conservation endeavors.

Most recently, each school received $1,000 to use at the school’s discretion. He added the more energy the county conserves, the better rates it receives from rate tests performed by energy companies.

“When this started it changed the whole mindset of county employees. It’s not only important because of the cost but because energy is such an important commodity and conserving it is crucial,” Hince said. “If schools save, we can usually give them a check to put into whatever they think is valuable to their school.”