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Energy Efficiency
Energy Efficiency
Changing a lightbulb

Why we should be energy efficient?

By being energy efficient we reduce our energy consumption, leading to less burning of fossil fuels. The burning of fossil fuels releases green house gases which contribute to Climate Change. Their burning also leads to the production of pollutants causing acid rain and soot. If we become more energy efficient we can reduce climate change impacts, acid rain production, and soot production. Hennepin County is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.

Video: Changing Behavior - A video about how to reduce energy usuage in the district

Being efficient with energy is good for the environment and you, plus efficiency saves money! Energy costs for heating, cooling and lighting are very expensive. In most schools, energy costs more than books and supplies. MPS spends approximately 12.5 million dollars per year on energy costs.

Reducing energy use is a good way to save money. It is possible to save money on energy without experiencing too much hardship because experts estimate up to 25% of energy used in schools is wasted by inefficient practices, like leaving lights and appliances on when not in use.

What steps is MPS taking to be energy efficient?

MPS has upgraded more than 141 boilers. We have started a preventive maintenance program to improve heating and cooling efficiency. We have retrofit systems using more energy efficient technology while aggressively pursuing rebates to offset the costs of the upgrades. MPS is working to improve monitoring systems to find ways to reduce energy consumption even more. We are also improving bus efficiency by retrofitting 40% of MPS-owned diesel buses with special recirculation valves to significantly reduce emissions. We have also begun reduced air-conditioning use in schools where only staff members are present during the summer. This policy alone has saved MPS thousands of dollars.

What steps can you take to be energy efficient?

Lighting accounts for 50% of energy costs, so:

  • Turn off lights when they are not in use.
  • Open the blinds during the day to use natural light.
  • Close the blinds at night to keep the room warm.

Powering the monitor accounts for 50% of the energy a computer uses, so:

  • Turn your computer monitor to “off” or “sleep” when it is not in use.
  • Do NOT shut down any Mac Computers or Windows computers in labs. IT services performs updates on these computers after hours and has already programmed them to automatically go to “sleep” mode.

Turn off printers, copiers and other office equipment at the end of every day. Turn off and unplug electronics and personal appliances.

Use MPS Green Reports to find out every building’s carbon footprint. With this information, you can find out each building’s energy consumption to help inform where energy savings can be made.

Water conservation is a part of energy savings and efficiency. Save water by not letting water run when washing your hands. Turn the water on to wet hands, and then turn it off while soaping. Report leaks to maintenance staff immediately. Maximize natural cover in outdoor landscaping.

More Energy Information:

What is Energy?

Energy is the ability to do work. Energy heats homes, runs refrigerators, moves cars, lights streets, and allows you to run. There are different forms of energy. Renewable energy is energy that can be made quickly, like wind energy. Non-renewable energy is energy that takes millions of years to be made.

Where does energy used at MPS come from?

MPS gets its electrical energy from Xcel Energy. Xcel Energy uses a mix of non-renewable (80%) and renewable energy (20%) sources to provide electricity. This mix includes nuclear, gas, hydo-power and wind. Xcel’s nuclear energy comes in part from the Prairie Island nuclear power plant. Much of Xcel’s hydro-power comes from plants in Canada.
MPS gets its gas from Center Point. Most of Center Point’s gas (85-90%) comes through pipelines from the Gulf of Mexico. The remainder of the gas comes from Canada. Gas runs to schools through pipes. Center Point maintains a gas meter to gauge gas usage.
How does our energy use affect the planet?
Much of the energy MPS is using comes from fossil fuels. Using fossil fuels releases stored carbon and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. As the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increases so does the temperature of the earth. This process is known as climate change. (link to EPA website)
Climate change affects how we all will live. On a warmer earth, icebergs will melt, raising sea levels. Plants and animals have adapted to live in certain climates. If climate change happens too quickly, they may not survive.
Burning fossil fuels also releases toxins like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, soot and mercury.
To learn more about energy and energy use see the links to the right.

Questions or comments? Please contact mpsgoesgreen@mpls.k12.mn.us.

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