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Friday February 12th, 2016 2:53AM

Gainesville Schools energy efficiency saves big dollars

By Jerry Gunn Reporter
GAINESVILLE - Gainesville School Board members were reminded recently that you can save a lot of money by simply not spending it through energy efficiency.

At Monday's regular board meeting Cathy Parker with Georgia Power Company presented the Board with an incentive rebate check for nearly $4,000.

John Kemp is a teacher and coach at Gainesville High School, and on nights and weekends he is an energy education specialist. The system's energy conservation program has been in place since 2008, focusing on changing behavior on how to use power, specifically how to operate buildings when no one is there.

Kemp says the idea is to cut down on energy use and conserve power to prevent costly waste. This enables the system to use the saved money in other education categories.

"We track our data throughout all of our buildings," Kemp said. "Since we started the program through January, we have avoided $2-million in energy costs that if we otherwise had not changed our behaviors would have just been gone."

Kemp compared it to turning off lights at home when you leave the house or when you no longer need to light up a room. The key is to make sure all the systems are shut down properly.

"We monitor basically 82 utility meters that cost real dollars and we want to make sure everything is minimized as much as possible," Kemp added.

Kemp said the incentive rebate program encourages the replacement of old equipment in old buildings and installation of energy efficient equipment in new buildings.

"If we use really good energy efficient lighting and energy efficient air conditioning, heating, and hot water, they provide us rebates for making things more efficient and on the other side of it, we will save lots of money in the future by having the more efficient systems."
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