By Jessica Bagley
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Students and school district officials thanked legislators at a local presentation Friday afternoon for their support of an efficiency grant that will go toward conserving energy and saving money.
The Governor’s Local Efficiency Grant funded the installation of an end point management system, which automatically powers off approximately 94,000 computers located in schools throughout the county.
“The system can also remotely turn the computers back on at the prescheduled time for instructional activity, making sure that no time is lost while the computers boot up,” Carol Barber, the deputy district superintendent of Erie 1 BOCES who worked on the project, said at the presentation held at Kenmore West High School.
The $570,500 grant will help Ken-Ton save over $100,000 each school year. The savings across the county will go a long way to helping districts who are struggling financially as state aid continues to dwindle.
“In these turbulent and difficult times, we didn’t want to miss this opportunity,” Donald Ogilvie, the district superintendent of Erie 1 BOCES said. “This is the kind of thing that will change practices in years to come, and the savings will come back ten fold.”
The technology can also automatically update anti-malware, anti-virus and other software updates, which eliminates the need for technicians to visit every building and perform those tasks manually.
“An update that would take Ken-Ton two weeks will now take four hours,” Barber explained.
Ken-Ton students in Andrew Lueth’s technology class at Benjamin Franklin Middle School also got the chance to take part in the celebration Friday.
“These students are active in the recycling club, or worked very hard on classroom projects that focused on sustainability and energy,” Lueth said. “They are positive, young role models.”
The students presented posters that helped communicate just how much energy the grant will save by turning off the 5,327 computers in the district and many more countywide.
“The carbon footprint of our district will be reduced by 45 tons, and the footprint of the county will be reduced by 795 tons,” one student explained.
Another student said that the amount of energy saved in the district over one year is the equivalent of turning off 1,295,274 light bulbs for 24 hours. In the county, the equivalent is $22,830,829 light bulbs.
Powering down the computers is also comparable to saving 2,608 trees in Ken-Ton and the removal of 274 passenger cars.
The students who took part thanked the legislators on hand, including State Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, State Senator Patrick M. Gallivan and representatives from State Sen. Mark Grisanti’s office, for their attempts to save operational costs and put money back in the classrooms. Those legislators received small planted trees that served as the backdrop for the event.
In turn, Schimminger thanked the students for their involvement.
“We are most impressed with you,” he told them. “All of you have furthered your goals by working hard on this project and others, and there are students like you across the 29 districts in the county who will benefit from this grant.”Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150