GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Going green and going for gold -- District 51 says its recent efforts to become more energy efficient have not only saved taxpayers more than a million dollars over the past year, they're also gaining national recognition.
From lights, to heaters, to sealing, District 51 says it's made a conscious effort to be energy conscious.
"As we track our progress, we are moving into an elite group of school districts that have achieved some remarkable energy reduction results," said Eric Anderson, Resource Conservation Manager for School District 51.
For starters, only one school in the entire district has not received an Energy Star label -- but will be eligible later this year. Officials say they know of only one school district in the state that can boast that 100 percent of its schools are Energy Star rated.
"That's Canon City School District and they have eight schools," said Anderson. "We have forty."
Energy Star also recently certified District 51 as achieving a 30 percent reduction in energy use since making improvements just a few years ago.
"We're very proud of that," said Anderson. "We'd like to see fifty. As I understand, I think there are less than six school districts nationwide that have achieved that."
The district has also entered three of its schools -- Palisade High School, the Career Center, and Fruita 8/9 -- in a nationwide Energy Star contest to see which buildings can reduce their energy use by the greatest amount.
At the halfway point, Palisade High School was beating all other Colorado schools and was ranked 24th in the country.
Anderson says after the most recent billing cycle, PHS has reduced its energy use by 19.9 percent. The school in the lead came in at just over 25 percent.
"I'd like to win it, if not getting into the top five schools," said Anderson.
But win or lose, the district says it will continue to look for ways to be good stewards of the environment and taxpayer dollars.
"There's still more projects to complete and we still have the horizon of renewable energy," said Anderson.