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How Renewable Energy Is Rescuing Schools from Budget Cuts

Educators across the country are finding millions of dollars in savings through cheap and simple forms of renewable energy.

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Still, all options are on the table for a new school in the planning stages for Bardstown, which expects to see a bid from Sherman Carter Barnhart.

“When they built [Bardstown] High School in ’59 I don’t think anybody thought about energy at all,” Hagan said. “Nobody thought about it even from a cost or environmental view. Now, that’s the first two things you ask.”

For the next generation, this outlook may become a way of life. The schools described in this article have all integrated environmental and sustainability components into their curriculums, and students have adopted these issues passionately.

“For the students, it’s the learning opportunity” said Ford, leader of Richardsville’s energy team. “It’s something that’s going to be a part of their life for a long time, so we’re teaching them and we’re having them become the teachers.”

That energy team leads visitors from schools around the world on tours of Richardsville, and has audited just about every appliance in the building.

“They’ll leave a note that says, ‘Mrs. Jones, you have a cell phone charger plugged in and you’re not using it. That’s going to cost us $5 a week,’” Joanie Hendricks laughed, “and you know, there’s nothing more powerful than getting a note from a kid.”

This article is republished from YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas and practical actions. Erin Erin L. McCoy has worked as a newspaper reporter and photographer in Kentucky for almost two years. She is now a Seattle-based freelance writer specializing in education, environment, cultural issues, and travel, informed by her time teaching English in Malaysia and other travels. Contact her at elmccoy [at] gmail [dot] com or on Twitter @ErinLMcCoy.