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Denver school's savings and expertise grow through EOC efficiency project

01 Aug. 2017

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Denver school's savings and expertise grow through EOC efficiency project

 

Low-income children attending a northwest Denver school are enjoying the benefits of a safer, brighter and more energy-conscious learning environment, thanks to an Energy Outreach Colorado energy efficiency project.

The non-profit Guardian Angels Catholic School provides scholarships and free school lunches to its 200 pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students. Energy Outreach installed $56,500 worth of energy-efficient equipment in the decades-old school building, including high-efficiency lighting, occupancy sensors, water fixtures and a refrigerator.

The improvements have reduced annual energy costs by about $5,000, supporting the school’s investment in a special education teacher and additional learning materials. In addition, EOC’s review of past energy bills uncovered a utility billing discrepancy that resulted in a $30,000 refund to the school – a “mini miracle,” said Mary Gold, principal at the school for the past 45 years.

No longer are lighting panels falling from the ceiling in the gymnasium, and students now have proper levels of lighting for reading and learning, added Peter Rusin, a school volunteer who developed its application to participate in EOC’s Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Program.

“By committing to energy efficiency, we are making more informed decisions, like re-negotiating our energy equipment maintenance contract,” Gold said. “This will help us serve more students over time."

When Energy Outreach installs new equipment in a building, it also works with building occupants to encourage behaviors that sustain and support energy savings. At Guardian Angels, students and staff enthusiastically turn off lights when they aren’t needed, recycle, and care for an extensive community garden that provides healthy food for the cafeteria and for fundraisers.

“Working with Energy Outreach Colorado has been outstanding,” Rusin said. “It’s a lot of work but it’s a really good deal. When it comes to capital improvements, every dollar is a choice between serving someone or paying for energy delivery.”

Pictured, Guardian Angels principal Mary Gold and volunteer Peter Rusin in the school community garden.

 

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