A school district in Northern Westchester has officially gone green.
As of Friday, Feb. 1, all of the electricity used by the Katonah-Lewisboro School District will be from renewable sources, namely wind that is generated by turbines in Texas.
The purchase of 100 percent green power was approved by the Board of Education last month at their Jan. 17 meeting. District officials said, “it is the latest step in the district’s commitment to reducing its total carbon footprint.” An audit conducted in 2015 found that the district’s top four sources of greenhouse gasses were fuel-related: heating oil for the buildings, gasoline used by employees for their commutes, diesel used by district school buses, and electricity generated by burning fossil fuels.
“Through participation in an energy purchasing cooperative, we identified a cost-efficient way to purchase 100 percent certified green electricity,” Katonah-Lewisboro Assistant Superintendent for Business Mike Jumper stated. “This change will reduce the district’s overall greenhouse gas inventory by 13 percent.”
According to district officials, while the cost for purchasing certified green power is slightly more than electricity produced by conventional means—adding less than 14 hundredths of one cent per kilowatt hour—administrators and members of the Board unanimously opted to use renewable resources. They noted the district will pay slightly less than 6 cents per kilowatt-hour for the supply of wind-powered electricity through May 2021.
“Since 2008, energy use has gone down in all tracked categories,” Paul Christensen, the district’s director of facilities, said. “The reduction is due to upgrading lighting, increasing insulation, replacing inefficient boilers, adding building system controls, installing occupancy sensors, and many other items district-wide.”
Mary Ford, the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction added in a statement, “the new energy contract provides a unique opportunity for KLSD educators to engage our students in conversations about sustainability and our own sustainable practices.
“Whether it is a research paper on the environmental benefits of green power, a science lesson on climate change and the impact of greenhouse gasses, or a math problem that tasks students with analyzing the costs and benefits of green power versus other sources of electricity, this initiative provides inspiration for students to investigate and contribute to local solutions for authentic global challenges."
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