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While most of us have run up our heating bills in this cold snap, Colbert County Schools are saving millions!
The school system has recently had dozens of energy efficient upgrades after signing an $8 million contract with Schneider Electric. Colbert County School District's Chief Financial officer, James Brumley, said their contract with Schneider Electric will save them at least $12 million over 20 years.
Each Colbert County classroom and hallway now has sensors in it, which turn the new LED lights on but after 20 minutes, they go off and this is just one improvement on how the school system is saving money. The company also brought in energy efficient heating and cooling systems, and upgrades to lessen each school's water consumption, saving the school system $500,000 in the first year.
"There is no way we would have been able to financially afford to do the infrastructure that has taken place with our current budget, and with the guaranteed savings project, it guarantees us the savings every year," said Brumley.
Katie Dalrymple has a fourth grade student in the Colbert County School System, and she says the savings from the project will only open more doors in the district for students.
"I'm looking forward to what the savings will allow us to really push forward into more technology, more opportunities for our students," said Dalrymple.
In the contract with Schneider Electric, gym lights at Colbert Heights High School were replaced with more energy efficient ones and they got a new roof.
"It's made the gym brighter. It makes it feel more at home," said Colbert Heights Senior, Emma James. "It makes me excited for the generations coming up, because I want to be a teacher and knowing were saving all this money really excites me."
Schneider Electric told WAAY 31 the environmental impact of the upgrades throughout the school district is equal to taking 5,000 cars off the road. Because the school system is making strides to be more energy efficient, the Tennessee Valley Authority recently awarded them around $60,000 for their efforts.