"We had MidAmerican making phone calls because it was such a big change in how much money the district was saving. They thought something was wrong because of the significant drop in energy," said Spalding Park Elementary School Principal Mimi Moore talking about the Sioux City School District's energy saving program.
The district's energy saving program is less than two years old but already, it's saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.
So far the program has saved roughly $750,000, thanks to schools making some changes both big and small. And they're adding it up to extra dollars and common sense.
In schools across Sioux City, you'll find signs reminding everyone there to conserve energy as part of the district's energy saving program.
"It's just those, you know, common sense kinds of things. Keep your door closed, turn off your lights if you're not there. During breaks we shut everything off and unplug everything from the wall. And even though it may seem like something small like taking a plug out of the wall, it's still consuming energy," Principal Moore said.
Moore said conserving energy is now a habit and it's one that's making a big impact. In less than two years, it's saved schools $750,000.
"Once people embraced the change and understood that we're going to maintain a good learning environment but ultimately, to see the effects of our program both on the environment as well as on money that can be freed up for other things. I think it's been a very positive thing for our school district," said Sioux City Schools Energy Specialist Jeremy Taylor.
Sioux City Schools have been nationally recognized, many with the Energy Star rating.
But not all the changes have gone over smoothly. Some changes, like regulating the school's temperature levels, through the air conditioning for example, have gotten a few complaints.
"I've gotten a few, but they've usually been dealt with. Lots of times too, it's because they're so hot from playing or they haven't drank enough and so they're dehydrated," Principal Moore said.
But most agree, the changes have been a good thing, making a big impact on both the bottom line and the environment. But of course, the program is still pretty new and Taylor says they're always looking to improve things.
"I do think there's room for more growth as we go forward," Taylor said.
According to Taylor, the energy they've saved since the program started is equal to 1,400 passenger cars being pulled off the road for a year.