Students at Woodford County’s Southside Elementary School are energized about energy savings, and that helped the school win the inaugural Kentucky’s Battle of the School Buildings competition.
“For those in attendance at the ceremony at Southside, you could tell the students were excited. They recognized that they had made a difference,” Woodford County school board Chairman Ambrose Wilson IV said. “This whole effort made them better understand the importance of the environment and saving energy. It was a win-win for the district.”
KSBA-SEMP presented the first place award during a ceremony at Southside Elementary School. From left – former KSBA Executive Director Mike Armstrong; Woodford County Superintendent Scott Hawkins; Southside Elementary Principal Jason McAllister; Woodford County Energy Manager Ralph Slone; Southside Elementary student Keegan Connell; KSBA-SEMP Energy Services Coordinator Martha Casher; and Woodford County school board Chairman Ambrose Wilson IV.
Southside reduced its energy use by 24.68 percent during the competition, narrowly besting Bourbon County Elementary’s 24.51 percent reduction. Two other Woodford County schools – Northside Elementary and Safe Harbor Academy – finished third and 10th, respectively.
“Our goal was how do we do everything we can to try to conserve energy and save on our energy costs,” Woodford County Superintendent Scott Hawkins said. “I don’t know that we set out to win this competition as much as we just wanted to try to do everything we could to save energy.”
In the summer of 2016, the district replaced the HVAC systems at both Southside and Northside elementaries. Hawkins noted both units were original to the 25-year-old buildings and were in need of replacement. The district also put in more efficient lighting.
“We’ve actually been able to only have to turn on about half the lights with the new lighting compared to what we used to have to do,” the superintendent said. “And then we put in new lighting in our gyms that are much more energy efficient. They also go off when there’s no motion, so that’s nice.”
Woodford County Energy Manager Ralph Slone said the district’s philosophy is “if you can measure it, you can save it. And then when you save it, you reinvest it.”