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MCS lauded in ‘Champions of Energy’

MADISON — Madison City Schools has won a coveted award for energy efficiency in its buildings.

At its annual Green Tie Bash, the Huntsville Association of Energy Engineers gave the district its “2017 Best Overall Performance Award” that recognizes “Champions of Energy” throughout the area. U.S. Space and Rocket Center hosted the bash on Oct. 17.

Michael Gunner, MCS Coordinator of Operations, accepted the award on behalf of the Madison district. Gunner said more than half the total square footage of buildings throughout the district are approaching the challenging efficiency standards that satisfy national guidelines.

Discovery Middle School won an individual award for attaining “Energy Star” certification. Discovery was the first school in North Alabama to reach this status. Several other Madison City schools are closing in on qualifying, MCS Public Relations Manager John Peck said.

Much of the Madison school district’s energy savings have come from a massive switchover to LED lighting, motion-activated switches and behavior modification by students and school staff.

A single laptop, for example, can burn almost $5 of power each year just by remaining on overnight. “Multiply that by thousands, and the costs can e up. Running faucets and lights burning unnecessarily can also be wasteful,” Peck said.

“Energy is an expense that Madison City Schools can reduce with true commitment, freeing resources for use in the classroom, MCS Energy Manager Dr. Fitzgerald McQueen said. “Energy efficiency redirects significant savings back to the education of our students.”

The district achieved more than $130,000 in savings last year from both energy-efficient hardware and changes in the habits of faculty members and students that led to better conservation. “Discovery alone managed to lower its energy costs 18.4 percent in the past two years,” Peck said.

“Investments in energy-efficient technology in both a proactive sense and as new buildings are built or modified are paying off,” Gunner said. “The schools are doing their part through behavior modification like turning off unused devices. It’s a team effort that we plan to continue moving forward.”

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