Green-and-Gold working to think more green - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Green-and-Gold working to think more green

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - KUAM News first reported in January about JFK High School's power bill nearly tripling since moving to Upper Tumon. Today a meeting was held to discuss ways to think green.

The Home of the Islanders is far from green when it comes to their energy bill. At today's work session, JFK assistant principal Hannah Gutierrez reported that the Upper Tumon facility racked a hefty $163,000 power bill for the month of December - triple what it was when the Islanders used the Tiyan facility last school year. Changes need to be made to address this as the Department of Education continues to look at ways to live within its means since Governor Eddie Calvo imposed a 15% budget reserve on all line agencies, which for DOE equates to $30 million.

The Department of Education is the second largest consumer of power on island, and with the price of gasoline going up, so will the price of power. Guam Education Board member Barry Mead recognizes that although the Upper Tumon campus has 12% more classrooms with a larger gymnasium and library than the former Tiyan campus, that's no excuse for the record-high power bill. "The two biggest expenses the Department of Education has is payroll and energy neither of which we can go without," said Mead.

Mead also noted how there are obvious problems with the school's air conditioning units. Every classroom is equipped with five-ton units with thermostats attached to the same unit. Mead observed that the media room's thermostat read 70 degrees, when board policy specifically states a comfortable temperature is 76 degrees. "You're getting a false reading consequently that's causing the air conditioners to run continuously instead of reaching temperature instead of turning off," he said.

According to Gutierrez, contractors international bridge corporation have yet to turn over the keys to the lockboxes, restricting JFK administration from changing room temperatures and A/C timers or turning off campus lights after hours. "Everybody that works at this school and everybody that works at DOE needs to be energy conscious," he said.

Mead says the Guam Community College is paving the way as a green campus making massive renovations to ensure every building is leadership in energy and environmental design certified equipped with solar panels and means to recycle water and that DOE needs to follow suit.

In conjunction with the need to save energy, the Educational Learning Task Force's Finance Committee is looking at alternative ways to fund future DOE projects, including energy efficiency financing that requires the schools to retrofit hardware and see return on its investments in ten years. 

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