Little Chute Schools Honored for Commitment to Energy Efficiency
Little Chute, Wis.
Kaukauna Utilities (WPPI Energy)
School District Receives 2019 Energy Efficiency Excellence Award
Little Chute, Wis. – Little Chute Area School District leaders wanted their renovated intermediate/middle/high school to be a space that promoted creativity and collaboration. So, it’s fitting that a collaboration between the district, Kaukauna Utilities and FOCUS ON ENERGY® led to several projects that will help recover some of the $17.8 million in renovation costs.
“To be good stewards of taxpayer money, we need to find out ways and methods and operations that truly would save our taxpayers dollars that we would continue to invest,” said the district Superintendent, David Botz.
That search to smartly spend taxpayer money led to several investments in energy efficiency at the school and, ultimately, to the school district receiving a 2019 Energy Efficiency Excellence Award from Focus on Energy and Kaukauna Utilities.
“Being the smallest school district in the state of WI, geographically, [there are] awards we are not privy to sometimes because of our size. But when we do get this type of award, I think we all understand and need to recognize the people behind them. I’m accepting it for a team of people.” Supt. Botz said before thanking several district staff members who attended the award presentation.
Energy efficiency was a focal point of the renovation and the school district kept its Energy Advisor from Focus on Energy, Joe Kottwitz, involved in design and construction meetings.
“It was important for the District to install qualifying equipment and receive Focus on Energy incentives for doing so,” Kottwitz said at Thursday afternoon’s award presentation at the school. “Energy efficiency was a focal point of concern during the design and construction of their facility upgrades.”
Working through Focus on Energy’s Agriculture, Schools and Government Program, the school district installed hundreds of efficient LED light fixtures. Other upgrades included high-efficiency ovens, dishwashers, freezers, air-conditioners and boilers.
The projects earned the school district a financial incentive of nearly $90,000 from Focus on Energy to help offset the initial cost of the more expensive high-efficiency equipment, and they will also save the district money on its energy bills for years to come. Energy savings over the life of the energy-efficient equipment at the renovated school are enough to power 1,300 homes for one year.
“Energy-efficient buildings such as this one also have the unique opportunity to teach students about sustainability,” said Steven Engebos, an energy services representative for WPPI Energy who serves Kaukauna Utilities. “When we use less energy, it reduces the amount of energy we need to generate at our power plants, also saving water consumption at these plants.”
Kaukauna Utilities, a member of WPPI Energy, is one of 107 Wisconsin utilities that fund and partner with the Focus on Energy program. Customers of those utilities are eligible for the energy expertise and financial incentives Focus on Energy provides.
And the collaboration between Focus on Energy, Kaukauna Utilities and the school district is not over. A savings analysis performed by Focus on Energy estimates the district will generate nearly $15,000 a year in electric savings by converting to LED lights at the elementary school.
“All LED lighting at the elementary school,” a smiling Supt. Botz said at the end of the presentation. “I hear that’s coming up next.”
A recent independent evaluation found every $1 invested in Focus on Energy generates more than $5 in benefits for the state of Wisconsin, including economic benefits, reduced energy costs and reduced pollution.
About Focus on Energy
Focus on Energy is Wisconsin utilities' statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program funded by the state's investor-owned energy utilities and participating municipal and electric cooperative utilities. Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Focus on Energy information, resources and financial incentives help to implement projects that otherwise would not be completed. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, protect our environment and control Wisconsin's growing demand for electricity and natural gas. For more information call 800.762.7077 or visit focusonenergy.com.