St. Johnsbury Academy observed Earth Day 2013 by announcing an energy-saving measure in its 32,000 square-foot Field House, which houses three basketball courts and an indoor track.
The school's Executive Committee recently approved funding to upgrade the 44 metal-halide lamps that light the space with LED (light-emitting diode) technology, which will be installed in the upcoming weeks by Academy electricity students under the supervision of long-time electricity instructor, Mike Bugbee. The new lights, which are 66 percent more efficient than the existing lights, will result in a 3 percent decrease in total campus electricity usage, reducing the school's carbon emissions by more than 30 tons per year, and saving the school more than $10,000 per year in energy costs.
"This is a team win," stated Academy director of Environmental Stewardship James Bentley. "Dennis Smith, Mike Bugbee, Carol Lyon, Phil Bickel from Efficiency Vermont, and Al Porter of CED-Twinstate Electric Supply in St. Johnsbury have all worked to make this happen."
In addition, SJA seniors Glen Young and Cassady Loehr have been studying the project as part of their senior Capstones and helped the process by meeting with stakeholders and collecting data on occupancy in the Field House in order to estimate energy and cost savings from the installation of motion sensors.
"The project really shows the unique strengths of our community here," said Bentley. "Few high schools in the world can teach energy conservation by involving students in every step of the process, from the proposal to installation of a real project that serves not just the school, but the town of St. Johnsbury as well. It's a great way to celebrate Earth Day: over the lifetime of the new lights, we will prevent at least 800 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the environment."