D51 a model of energy efficiency

District 51 is saving the planet while saving money.

Thanks to numerous recycling and energy efficiency moves, the district avoided $1.7 million in utility costs in 2016-17 and has saved more than $11 million in total utility costs over the last decade.

It took more than one project or program to get these savings. In 2009, the district entered a contract with TRANE to perform an energy audit. Numerous projects aimed at making buildings more energy efficient followed. Energy rebates and savings are fully paying for the projects, which range from installing more efficient boilers to swapping old bulbs for LED lighting.

In 2014, a solar garden (numerous rows of solar panels on one property) opened on District 51 land in Pear Park. The district has a 40 percent share in the solar garden, plus solar panels on many of its schools’ roofs. Solar makes up a quarter of the district’s energy portfolio.

There are plenty more examples of efficiencies district-wide and at particular schools. Here are just a few of the many projects going on in schools:

  • R-5 High School has worm-based composting.
  • Redlands and Mt. Garfield middle schools hosted a metal recycling drive.
  • Bookcliff Middle School piloted a zero-waste project in their cafeteria.
  • The Career Center has a wind turbine.
  • Fruita Monument High’s agriculture program cleaned out old shop metal for a rebate from Pacific Recycling.
  • Central High School is applying to become a Green Ribbon School.

D51 Energy Conservation Manager Eric Anderson continues to set higher conservation goals each year. This year, he hopes to increase the district-wide recycling rate to 50 percent, in part by encouraging students and staff to do more recycling in school kitchens and during games at Stocker Stadium.