Discovery Middle A "Shining Star" In Energy Efficiency; Seven More Madison Schools Next
Posted On:
Friday, May 12, 2017

Discovery Middle School in Madison has become the first school in North Alabama to attain Energy Star Certification from the EPA and Department of Energy. Seven other Madison City schools qualified and should soon be awarded certification, a state official said today.
Elizabeth Cochran, program manager of the Energy Division with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), commended the school and district for energy savings that free funds for other school needs.
Energy star decal in window
Discovery front entrance emblem


Referencing the "North Star" as a guiding beacon, Ms. Cochran told Madison school officials, "You look to be that shining star" for other school districts to copy in energy efficiency.
"You are the first. You've gone out and done what others can do," she said.
Madison schools achieved a $130,000 savings in energy costs between FY 2015 and FY 2016. Savings in electricity, gas and water will continue to escalate as more schools improve their energy efficiency.
Superintendent Robby Parker said those savings can pay for additional teacher units, technology, and other resources for the classroom.

Much of the school district’s savings came from a massive switchover to LED lighting, motion-activated switches, and behavior modification among students and school staff. Simply changing the culture in buildings to turn off unused devices made a huge impact in lowering utility bills. A single laptop, for example can burn almost $5 of power a year just by remaining on overnight. Multiply that by thousands and the costs pile up. Discovery Principal Eric Terrell said the staff and students have done a great job being energy conscience, like turning out lights and reporting running faucets and toilets.

Mr. Parker commended the Board of Education for steps that enabled MCS to earn the coveted Energy Star rating. The Board approved the expenditure of approximately $500,000 in 2015 to replace bulbs and many lighting fixtures with more energy-efficient ones. A $100,000 TVA energy incentive rebate helped offset that expenditure. Discovery alone realized a savings of $40,000 in utilities cost over the past year, an 18.4 percent drop.
“As things get tighter and tighter, we have to look for ways to cut money and energy consumption is one area. These cost reductions are even more phenomenal coming at a time of rapid enrollment growth and increasing demand on facilities, Mr. Parker said.

The Energy Star rating starts with a portfolio to create benchmarks for monthly usage of electricity, gas and water. ADECA's energy program helps clients implement energy conservation measures, and the results are verified by Avion Solution to verify Energy Star compliance. A few school districts across the state are Energy Star rated and Madison City is likely to be the first in North Alabama to do so, Ms. Cochran said. 
“Energy savings equal cost savings, and the Madison City Schools System has become a leader in identifying and adopting energy-saving measures in their schools that will reap benefits far into the future,” she said. “ADECA’s Energy Division is pleased to assist the efforts of local leaders to save more than $100,000 in just one year through energy efficiency. We congratulate Madison City Schools for becoming the first in North Alabama to earn Energy Star certification for school facilities.”
State and school officiials at news conf in library
L-R: Cedric Davis, Avion Solutions; Eric Terrell, DMS Principal; Liz Cochran, ADECA Energy Program Manager;
Robby Parker, Madison Schools Superintendent.

parking lot light fixturebucket truck changing light fixture

old ineficient fixture in parking lot classroom LED lighting
The Board of Education approved the expenditure to replace all inside and outside light fixtures at schools with more efficient LED ones. The fixture on the ground is one of the old models.