Franklin Academy modernizes its methods of energy consumption

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Franklin Academy began as a one-room school building over two centuries. Now the elementary school has almost 400 students and is modernizing its methods of energy consumption.

The Tennessee Valley Authority award the school a $200,000 grant for energy-saving innovations. This includes LED lighting, enhancements to the school’s ventilation and filtration system, and strategic energy management coaching.

TVA Energy Service Consultant, David Sparks, said the grant not only affect Franklin Academy but the city of Columbus as well.

“We invest $200,000 into Franklin Academy and they’ve identified through energy audits what they need to do: windows, lighting, etc.,” Sparks said. “With our partner at Columbus Light and Water, we actually get to save energy by making these investments; therefore, we don’t have to produce as much energy; therefore, the rates don’t go up. It helps the school, and more importantly, it helps the students, the community but it also helps us to save energy.”

Each school that receives this grant is expected to cut energy costs by 5-10%, saving an average of $8,000 annually, which can direct funds toward educating students.

“If you can put LED lights in versus standard bulbs, you will save a tremendous amount of energy. That lowers the school’s bill. The school has more resources to invest in education instead of paying a utility bill. We’ve identified those opportunities with the school and now we’re able to fulfill that obligation to help the school make improvements,” said Sparks.

Principal, Dr. Shanika McKinney, said this was not an overnight process.

“Each month our staff and students had to engage in energy-saving behaviors,” she said. “We had to do those activities in order to remain eligible. We also had to complete milestones and submit two grant applications in order to be eligible. There was a first milestone grant application and that put us in the running, in the top two running. After that was the second one which solidified our win.”

McKinney said this is an investment for everyone, staff and students included.

“This grant means continuing the legacy of Franklin Academy and ensuring that future generations can come here and achieve at high levels,” said McKinney.

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