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Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District

Logo for Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District Palmer, Alaska
Top Performer (2009)

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District (Mat-Su) educates approximately 16,700 students in 43 schools representing approximately 2,560,000 square feet of floor space. The district spans approximately 25,000 square miles, an area larger than the entire state of West Virginia. Mat-Su is the second largest school district in Alaska - behind Anchorage.  The district's mission is to develop citizens for a global society by inspiring students to think, learn, achieve and care.

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District has been recognized by EPA as an ENERGY STAR Leaders Top Performer for achieving a portfolio-wide energy performance average of 80.  Participation in the ENERGY STAR program has provided the district with many valuable resources and ideas, such as newsletters, web links to national information, and product information. Energy efficiency ideas and practices enabled the district to meet its energy goals and to ensure that Mat-Su students are learning to be energy smart. The Mat-Su Borough School District has participated in an Energy Management Program for four years. Using fiscal year 2005 as a baseline, by 2009, the district achieved a reduction in energy usage of about 19 percent in the 29 original schools. The district has annually shed more than 1,700 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of planting nearly 400 acres of trees every year.

Redirecting energy dollars maximizes the funds available for instructional programs and support services. One essential factor in energy efficiency is educating every student and employee about the environmental benefits of energy efficiency. This represents a savings of approximately $870,750 per year for the district, enough to cover the cost of 10 new teaching positions. With the addition of seven new sites, the square footage of the Mat-Su's portfolio has expanded more than 12 percent while district-wide energy consumption has increased only 2 percent over the fiscal year 2005 baseline. The district's success in improving energy efficiency began with a commitment by the superintendent, who appointed two district-wide energy managers to develop and implement a comprehensive energy management plan. A key element of the plan has been the support from the administrators, teachers, custodians, and staff at each school site. Successful efficiency measures have included: increasing focus on maintenance of energy systems and equipment; upgrading lighting systems; reviewing and modifying both indoor and outdoor lighting schedules and thermostat set points; and purchasing ENERGY STAR qualified office equipment and appliances whenever possible.