Students' energy savings ideas can earn classes green cash

Published: Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3B
Last Modified: Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 - 10:32 am

West Sacramento students are being challenged to think of energy conservation projects that would benefit their community and earn their classes cash prizes, thanks to a partnership between a Sacramento heating and air conditioning company and the West Sacramento Educational Foundation.

The green initiative aligns with Beutler Air Conditioning and Plumbing's focus on energy-efficient practices and the company's desire to give back to local schools and students, said Jim Anderberg, Beutler's general manager.

"Our hope is that we can encourage our youth to think about the impact they can make on our environment and share those ideas with the community as a whole so we can start making changes right here in West Sacramento," Anderberg said.

It's the first partnership the West Sacramento Educational Foundation has made with a private company. The foundation's president, Barry Kalar, said he hopes it inspires collaborative efforts with other local businesses.

"With everything that is going on with school finances, every little bit helps," said Kalar, a former Washington Unified trustee. "Partnerships like this are going to be important to the future."

Kindergarten through eighth-grade science classes in the Washington Unified School District are eligible to enter their ideas on how to reduce the load on the energy grid and how that benefits their community.

The class with the winning idea will be awarded $500, while second- and third-place finalists will be awarded $300 and $200, respectively. Beutler will also donate $1,000 to the West Sacramento Educational Foundation, a nonprofit that provides supplemental funding to education programs in Washington Unified.

West Sacramento students are asked to submit an essay that explains their energy savings idea and describes the potential effect on the community and how it can be implemented. Ideas can be submitted to

Submissions are due Feb. 15 and winners will be announced in March.

Bill Spalding, an assistant superintendent at Washington Unified, said one of the most exciting aspects of the partnership is how it fits with the district's efforts to be more energy efficient.

"We have a solar array field at our high school," Spalding said. "It's generating electricity for us … This is an opportunity for kids to be engaged in the work of how we become more green."

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Read more articles by Melody Gutierrez

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