The Oshkosh Area School District is one of 56 Wisconsin districts that have signed a contract with the state vowing to reduce their energy use by 10 percent. To get there, Oshkosh hopes to make a sweeping change, from simple habits of individuals to upgrading the core equipment that runs its schools, reports the Oshkosh Northwestern. "This is a total district effort," said Interim Superintendent Bette Lang. "Every student and employee can play a role in saving energy." The contract is Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton’s Energy Star School Challenge. Currently, 56 Wisconsin districts have signed the commitment to improve energy efficiency. The state provides participants with resources–including measurement tools, strategic advice, and finance calculators–to help meet the goal. Randy Johnston, the Oshkosh district’s buildings and grounds director, said immediate steps will remain simple. Maintenance staff are already retrofitting lights with energy-efficient bulbs and installing automatic heating controls. The school board is also exploring sustainable building options for a proposed new elementary school on the north side of Oshkosh. Geothermal heating and cooling has dominated discussions so far. "It’s certainly the right thing to do from an ecological perspective. It’s just a matter of identifying if it’s fiscally responsible," said board member Dan Becker…

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