An eastern Iowa school system is getting kudos from the state’s largest utility after making some simple changes that produced amazing results. Dave McCammant, the energy efficiency product manager at MidAmerican Energy, says the Davenport Public School System saved more than a half-million dollars, in large part, just by doing things like turning off lights in unused classrooms.

McCammant says it teaches a lesson from which schools and businesses statewide could learn. McCammant says the school system saved more than 590-thousand dollars over the past two years on its energy bills, or a cut of 24-percent. In addition, the system got 200-thousand dollars in rebates from MidAmerican for installing energy-efficient equipment and systems. He says students and staff have cut back or quit using refrigerators, coffee pots, electric space heaters and fans in the classrooms when they aren’t necessary for the curriculum.

McCammant says many of the behavioral changes are common-sense: turning off the lights when you leave a room, turning off equipment and computers that aren’t being used. He says we all know to do those things, we just don’t always think about it. McCammant says Davenport’s a model for other school systems, as the district adopted a program to make a long-term impact on energy efficiency by educating and modifying the behavior of the students and staff.

McCammant says the Davenport schools did a good job of sending weekly tips to the staff, reminding them of the importance of saving energy and making it fun by having a contest where the schools with the greatest savings won computers. Davenport now boasts a median cost of energy per student of about 88-dollars, compared to the national median cost of 181-dollars. For more energy saving tips, surf to “”.