What does Energy mean to Rockford Public Schools?

Jim VanderKolk

Director of Operations

As the years go by it is easy to get complacent about utility savings and the efforts necessary to move forward in a direction for reduction in expenses and wasteful practices. Nine years ago we started our energy program, netting a 16% energy savings our first year. Since that time we have consistently improved with an overall 25% energy savings. This translates into a district savings of $3,624,000 in energy costs. With rising student numbers, increased building use by the community, and building additions, the search for additional utility savings is a challenge. The goal is to direct this money toward use in the classroom.

During the program, Rockford Public Schools has received several awards. Every Elementary and Secondary school building in the district has received the Energy Star Award from the United States Government. This award is for outstanding energy savings with the documentation to support our success.

Sustaining this level of conservation is not an easy task. This significant achievement is the result of a district wide effort. Tom Larson has been the Energy Manager since the program began. Tom starts each day analyzing energy usage and schedules, to eliminate waste. The strong support of Superintendent, Dr. Michael Shibler, The Rockford Board of Education, Administrators, support staff, teachers, students, and, parents, all combine to pave the way for the program’s success.

The most recent award of recognition is being presented to Rockford Public Schools in October. The national energy conservation company, Energy Education, will present the Chairman’s Sustainability Award. This award compliments the district for the ability to maintain the long run of success and steady improvement.

What we have is another example of a combined total effort towards a successful outcome by the entire community of individuals committed to their schools. This is why we are recognized as an exemplary school district that leads by our continued efforts to improve.




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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.