Saturday, May 15, 2010

Budget Crunch: Green Ways to Save

Last week I attended a webcast organized the the US Green Building Council's (USGBC) Green Schools Advocacy Group. Tim Cole, the Sustainable Schools Project Manager for Virginia Beach City Public School (VBCPS) presented a slide show on VBCPS's successes in green building. Mr. Cole has been working with the school system for 8 years and his story is a wake up call in the midst of our budget crisis.

Guess how VBCPS saved $50,000 last year? They implemented a "no idle" policy for their fleet of buses. Guess how they saved another $75,000? They installed a program on their computers to automatically shut them down at 5:30pm daily (an over-ride is possible if a teacher or administrator still needed to work on a computer). An additional $500,000 was saved by adjusting the temperatures in their buildings. All of these changes are free or cost very little money.

To give you a sense of the size of school district we are talking about, VBCPS has 87 schools with about 70,000 pupils in attendance while CCPS has 64 schools with about 59,000 pupils in attendance. And while these dollar figures are small relative to the huge budget shortfall we are facing, they are not insignificant. Something to think about...and write about...and talk about!

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