News Releases

Students Save Energy and Money: Earn Pizza

Jun 2, 2003

Sierra Pacific Power Company
Contact: Gary Aldax
Phone: (775) 834-5508

For Immediate Release

Students in Elko and Lander County School Districts have saved more than $50,000 in utility costs through a seven- month energy conservation program. Five schools in Elko and Spring Creek, and five schools in Battle Mountain reduced their energy consumption by 474,699 Kilowatt hours (kWh), collectively, by coming up with creative ways to save electricity.

The"Powered by Pizza" program, created jointly by Sierra Pacific Power and the Elko and Lander County School Districts, rewards students and staff for energy conservation with an end-of-the-year pizza party.

Participating schools were challenged to reduce their electric usage by seven percent from the previous year, or an average of one percent per month. Monthly electrical consumption at each school was monitored from October 2002 to April 2003. Schools that met or exceed the seven percent goal enjoy a pizza party, courtesy of Sierra Pacific.

The participating Elko County schools are: Spring Creek Elementary, Spring Creek High School, South Side Elementary, Elko Grammar School # 2 and North Side Elementary. Lander County schools participating include: Eliza Pierce Elementary, Mary S. Black Elementary, Eleanor Lemaire Elementary, Battle Mountain Junior High and Battle Mountain High School.

During the seven-month period, the five Elko schools saved a total of 356,718 kWh, a 13.3 percent reduction in energy usage, reducing the school district's electric bill by $39,239. The five Lander county schools saved 117,981 kWh, representing a 16 percent reduction for the district. Their conservation efforts reduced the Lander County School District's electric bill by $12,978.

This project is helping the districts save money during a tight budget year. In addition, some of the Elko schools'savings will be reallocated to the participating Elko County schools for educational supplies. According to Bill McLeod, the Elko County School District's director of technology and facilities, and Robert Smith, Lander County School District superintendent, the program has generated excitement and a greater awareness of the importance of energy savings among students, teachers and school staff.

The program also gives students and staff the opportunity to brainstorm and develop new ideas and strategies to help save energy. Among the new energy conservation habits implemented were the following:

  • Turning off lights and computer equipment when not in use.
  • Closing doors and windows
  • Dressing appropriately for the weather
  • Taking advantage of available natural lighting
  • Adjusting the hours and frequency of heating and air conditioning use.
  • Reducing lighting in corridors and other non-critical areas
  • Curtailing energy use at non-essential, after-hours activities
  • Adjusted classroom activities to more energy efficient locations (for example: instead of lighting the entire gymnasium for 20 students for an after school program, the students moved to the library)
  • Caulking and weather stripping doors and windows
  • Adjusting latches and thresholds on doors
  • Installing insulated window coverings

Ed Hopfer, Sierra Pacific's energy educator, and Jay Elquist, Elko district manager, were instrumental in creating the program. They emphasized the importance of the student and faculty involvement in the effort."The schools deserve the credit for the program's success," Hopfer says."Their cooperation and ownership of the conservation program has generated the savings."

# # #