Katonah-Lewisboro School District Shifts to 100% Certified Green Electricity

As of February 1, 2019, all of the electricity used by the Katonah Lewisboro School District will be from renewable sources – wind, to be exact, generated by turbines in Texas. 

“Through participation in an energy purchasing cooperative, we identified a cost-efficient way to purchase 100% certified green electricity,” said Mike Jumper, Katonah-Lewisboro’s assistant superintendent for business. “This change will reduce the district’s overall greenhouse gas inventory by 13%.”

While the cost for purchasing certified green power is slightly more than electricity produced by conventional means—adding less than 14 hundredths of one cent per kilowatt hour—administrators and members of the Board were unified behind the decision to use renewable resources. The district will pay slightly less than 6 cents per kilowatt hour for the supply of wind-powered electricity through May 2023.

KLSD Energy Use Decreasing in All Tracked Categories

The purchase of 100% green power was approved by the Board of Education on January 17, 2019. It is the latest step in the district’s commitment to reducing its total carbon footprint. A comprehensive audit done in 2014-15 showed that the district’s top four sources of greenhouse gasses were fuel-related: heating oil for the buildings, gasoline used by employees for their commutes, diesel used by district school buses, and electricity generated by burning fossil fuels. 

“Since 2008, energy use has gone down in all tracked categories,” said Paul Christensen, the district’s director of facilities. “The reduction is due to upgrading lighting, increasing insulation, replacing inefficient boilers, adding building system controls, installing occupancy sensors, and many other items district-wide.” 

Teachable Moments

The district anticipates that the new energy contract also creates a real-life teachable moment, particularly for students in science and math classes. 

“The new energy contract provides a unique opportunity for KLSD educators to engage our students in conversations about sustainability and our own sustainable practices,” said Mary Ford, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. “Whether it is a research paper on the environmental benefits of green power, a science lesson on climate change and the impact of greenhouse gasses, or a math problem that tasks students with analyzing the costs and benefits of green power versus other sources of electricity, this initiative provides inspiration for students to investigate and contribute to local solutions for authentic global challenges."