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Rickman Elementary Lowering Energy Usage

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Rickman Elementary Lowering Energy Usage

Showcasing energy savings at Rickman Elementary School netted the school a $10,000 grant from the TVA’s School Uplift program.

Interim Principal Kelly Pendergrass said the school was able to reduce its energy usage through simple practices like turning off lights in empty rooms and replacing projectors with newer, more energy-efficient models. Pendergrass said it is important that the school and its staff set a good example for their students.

“We wanted to educate, especially the younger students who may not have even thought about those things,” Pendergrass said. “That they can be a active member of their community also, and help in conservation, and that it helps everybody.”

Pendergrass said the grant money will be used to purchase new Chromebooks as a replacement for school’s desktop computers. The Chromebooks will be more energy efficient. She said they are working to get bids now and she hopes to have the laptops by the next school year.

“That’s become a huge part of our everyday curriculum, is the technology aspect,” Pendergrass said. “So that runs a lot of energy in a school these days, and this should help significantly cut down some of that energy consumption.”

Pendergrass said the school has also started saving money on their utility bills thanks to the new energy-saving practices.

“We just looked at areas where we were using the most energy and tried to determine what steps we could take to eliminate waste,” Pendergrass said.

Pendergrass said there are shutdown checklists in every classroom that tell students what to check and turn off before they leave a room.

“It’s been very helpful in educating them,” Pendergrass said. “And they’ve even took that home and parents are saying, ‘Hey, my – my kid’s reminding me that I need to turn the light off when we leave the room and the TVs off when we’re not watching them and things like that.’”

Pendergrass said the school also decommissioned old computers and uses interactive boards with shutoff timers to further reduce their energy usage.

“Just simple things that – some things just like shutting doors and turning off lights that you would do in your home everyday, too,” Pendergrass said. “But people don’t think about in a big school setting sometimes.”


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