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Posted January 9, 2012

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APS Part of NM Energy Awareness Week

The state highlights the need for efficient energy use Jan. 9-16

APS Superintendent Winston Brooks signed a proclamation recognizing Energy Awareness Week.

Illuminating the need to conserve energy, Albuquerque Public Schools is plugged into New Mexico Energy Awareness Week, Jan. 9-16.

Energy Awareness Week is a joint effort of public school districts in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Santa Fe as well as Gov. Susana Martinez’s office. Students in participating schools learn about saving energy and smart energy use, then are encouraged to practice at home what they’ve learned.

At APS, the Energy STARS (Schools Teaching About Resource Sustainability) program sponsors the effort. About 50 schools are enrolled in the program, and together they save the district $789,000 and 8 million kilowatt hours of electricity last year through smart energy use.

STARS offers some handy resolutions for teachers and parents to get the New Year started:

Teachers, be a role model in energy use for your students. Engaging students in this collective effort is key to building responsible, aware citizens who care about reducing wasteful practices. Recycle in your classroom, reuse beverage containers (avoid disposable water bottles) and ask students to shut off lights and computers when they are finished working with them. As part of your curriculum, ask students to evaluate issues and solutions that affect our carbon footprint.

Scan your classroom/office for energy waste. Educators are quick studies and can learn to spot energy-draining areas of our classrooms/offices that may have gone unnoticed before. Task lights, monitors and speakers are commonly found running when we are not present, wasting energy (and money) from our district that we can find better use for.

Parents, scan your home for energy waste. Many of the approaches we at APS are taking to manage energy are equally useful in our homes. Aside from refrigerator or HVAC improvements (which may make you eligible for PNM energy rebates), there are simple solutions such as power stripping multiple plugs. Shutting off the strips nightly and when you’re away from home will save you cash each month by avoiding “phantom” energy waste. To learn more about PNM’s programs, visit www.pnm.com/rebates/home.htm or  www.APSEnergyConservation.org to learn what can be done in classrooms.

Buy the most energy-efficient appliances you can afford when replacing appliances. Look for the ENERGY STAR® label when purchasing appliances or electronics. These models will reduce your energy costs over the operating life of the device. Also, use more energy-efficient ENERGY STAR® compact fluorescent light bulbs where appropriate to save on electricity costs at home and in your classroom.

Sweat the small stuff; details count. Small repair jobs and attention to detail can make a difference over the course of a year. For instance, turning your thermostat down a few degrees when you’re away from home for more than a few hours can save on heating costs. Programmable thermostats make it especially easy to adjust your home energy use at different times. Clean or change your furnace’s air filter on a regular basis, so it doesn’t have to work as hard. And don’t forget to caulk drafty windows, install insulation where possible and seal leaky air ducts or drafts.

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