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Lawrence County schools win national energy award

By Kristen Bishop
kbishop@decaturdaily.com 340-2443

MOULTON — Lawrence County schools earned national recognition and saved more than $560,000 since implementing an energy-saving program in 2006.

Ken Murdock with Energy Education Inc., a national energy conservation company, presented the Pacesetter Award to district energy manager Cynthia Jackson and Superintendent Dexter Rutherford during a school board meeting Monday.

The award recognizes the school system's teachers, staff and administrators for "being good stewards of the taxpayers' money and the environment," said Energy Education Inc. founder William S. Spears in a press release.

"The district joins a very committed, elite group of school districts across the country working hard to conserve energy so the dollars saved can be redirected to educational needs," he said.

Since hiring Energy Education 16 months ago, the school system has saved 25 percent on its energy bills, said Murdock. That's all money that can be put to better use within the school system, he said.

Jackson tracks energy consumption — including electricity, water, sewer, natural gas and oil — using energy accounting software so she can identify and correct areas that need attention.

She also has instructed school personnel to reduce the heat or air conditioning and to turn off lights when students are not in school.

"I had to come in and make a lot of changes and people don't like change, but once they realized it wasn't going to hurt anyone, they all jumped on board," said Jackson.

She attributed the program's effectiveness to Rutherford's dedication and support.

"It was his leadership and encouragement that got us on the track to make this kind of savings," she said. "I wouldn't trade my boss for anything."

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