The Cambridge Central School building has been upgraded to make it more energy efficient, by replacing windows and lighting. (Holly Pelczynski/Bennington
The Cambridge Central School building has been upgraded to make it more energy efficient, by replacing windows and lighting. (Holly Pelczynski/Bennington Banner/photos.benningtonbanner.com)

CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- The Cambridge Central School District held a press conference on Tuesday to announce more than $46,000 of annual energy-cost savings that are being realized from recent building improvements.

International electric and gas company National Grid assisted CCS with internal and external lighting improvements by awarding the school a $57,720 grant. The school has seen more than 357,000 kilowatt hours of energy saved annually from the installation of LED lighting, light sensors and more.

Bill Flaherty, director of customer and community relations at National Grid, said he thinks CCS is a progressive school for more than just the lighting that National Grid assisted with. "We were happy to supply the incentive, and often projects like this need the incentive," he said. "You don't just do an energy efficiency project because it feels good: You do it because it has a payback as well."

CCS has an environmental and conservation program that encourages students to come up with environmental initiatives at the school. The district's energy conservation and sustainability committee is made up of teachers, students, administrators and is led by the school's advanced placement environmental studies teacher, Steve Butz.

MCW Custom Energy Solutions, LLC of Saratoga Springs assisted CCS in completing an energy efficiency project that included a boiler upgrade, installation of energy-efficient windows, water refilling station and programmable thermostats. The committee is also working with Monolith Solar to start the installation of solar panels on top of the flat-roofed school and bus garage within the next month.

Butz said that by asking students to contribute to the discourse on environmental practices at the school, a precedent is set for conservation. CCS is the first school in Washington County to apply for solar panels from Monolith, which contracts the school under a power purchase agreement. CCS put no money down for the solar technology, but will keep 25 percent of the energy produced for a 20-year agreement.

"We made it a more open environment for promoting energy conservation practices, exploring new technologies, ways that we can save energy and help the kids learn," said Butz.

To learn more about energy saving initiatives at CCS, visit the energy conservation and sustainability committee online at http://www.cambridgecsd.org/community.cfm?subpage=954080.

Contact Tom Momberg at tmomberg@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg