Energy Savings

Blanco Elementary wins school district’s energy conservation contest

Staff rewarded with a week of getting to wear jeans to work

About a month ago, a lightbulb clicked on in the brain of Blanco Independent School District (BISD) Superintendent Clay Rosenbaum: specifically, the thought, “That lightbulb doesn’t need to be on.”

A group photo.
The Blanco Elementary School staff get a “kick” out of their energy contest prize: a week of getting to wear jeans to work. (Photo courtesy of Jowie Walker.)

An energy-conscious person and lover of competition, Rosenbaum came up with a way to transform a simple problem — unused lights and computer monitors left on in his school district’s campuses — into a monthly cross-campus competition that saved the district money, lightened BISD’s environmental impact and built team camaraderie.

And the results paid off, with an 8 percent reduction in energy use compared to the same month-long billing cycle last year — saving more than $1,400 for the three-school district.

“I think the key is just to do something that everybody can be a part of,” Rosenbaum said. “Everybody can turn out a light. Everybody can help.”

The ‘keep it simple’ mentality worked wonders for the staff and students of Blanco Elementary, who won the first round of the new monthly competition with small but powerful actions, like turning off lights and computer monitors and closing classroom doors.

“It’s just the simple things that we try to teach our kids at home — turn off the lights when you leave the bathroom, and so on,” Blanco Elementary School Principal Jowie Walker said. “It all comes together really powerfully when the classrooms work together.”

Given the opportunity to choose their prize, the Blanco Elementary School staff opted for a week of wearing blue jeans to work, which they enjoyed with gusto.

“The competition really is about energy conservation more than anything else, but we want people to have fun with it,” Rosenbaum said. “I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish next month.”