Teachers, students and staff in Durham’s school saved more than $50,000 last year on energy by simple conservation measures, such as turning off lights that weren’t in use, and turning off computer monitors, said Hugh Osteen, assistant superintendent for operations. The conservation efforts, which cut electricity and natural gas use, were encouraged through the DPS Energy Incentive Program, which was established at the beginning of the 2007-08 school year.

Students get to reap the benefits of their actions. The school system will give 13 schools that reduced their energy consumption $18,000 back to spend on supplies or other needs. The rest of the cost savings was absorbed by the Durham schools, Osteen said, to help offset other budget cuts the system has faced in recent months.