Schools going green

Lisa Hammer

    School board members decided at their recent retreat that “going green” is a priority, according to Supt. Tom Akers.

    Building consultant Johnson Controls will attend the school board’s Thursday, Sept. 18, meeting to “talk about what we can do to be a little more efficient and environmentally friendly,” said Akers.

    He said on a specific date, the two school buildings will be open to any company that wants to do an energy assessment and provide the district with a report.

    Akers said consultants will look at the district’s budget and see what can be accomplished and remain fiscally responsible.

    He added that savings from relatively small changes can add up and become building blocks towards more dramatic changes.

    “Little things with engines and lights really build up efficiency-wise, then that money can go to different things efficiency-wise,” he said.

    “I’m very excited that that is a direction the board would like to go,” the superintendent said.

    Akers sat in on a meeting at his former district, River Ridge 210 near Galena, where engineers suggested collecting rainwater to use for flushing.

    He also noted he’s recently read about “green” roofs that use soil and plant life to further insulate buildings.

    Green roofs can be either permanent or portable.

    “Either ground cover or pots can be used,” he said. “It’s a very fascinating thing with the roofs, but very costly.”

    He also mentioned measures such as wind turbines and geothermal heating and cooling.

    Does the board’s commitment to the high school building in particular—and perhaps a costly investment —indicate they’ve shifted away from the idea of consolidation with another district?

    “It really hasn’t been resolved either way,” said Akers, noting consolidation was discussed at the recent school board retreat.

    “They definitely made it a goal to communicate to the public as to our intentions for the future.”