MADISON, Mo. — Katie Havenkamp’s ag students won’t have to look very far next year to see the benefits of energy efficiency.
A nearly $10,000 grant through the Missouri Agriculture Energy Saving Team — A Revolutionary Opportunity, funded through the U.S. Department of Energy, will buy new heating and cooling systems along with energy-efficient LED lighting for the agriculture shop and classroom.
It’s a welcome improvement and “great add-ons to help students continue to learn and learn about energy efficiency,” Havenkamp said. “This is part of our long-term plan to help make more improvements to the rest of the building. We’re starting with the ag department and working our way through the rest of the building.”
The Madison C-3 district was one of six recipients of MAESTRO grants available to make energy efficient upgrades in Missouri school districts. The reimbursement grant provides funds to address energy-related issues in school ag facilities.
Funds may be used to pay subject matter experts to conduct energy audits or train students, buy supplies or pay for labor required to carry out the work.
A professional development session on the MAESTRO grant at last summer’s ag teacher conference spurred Havenkamp to work with Superintendent Bryant Jones on the grant request.
“We decided to fill it out and take our chances,” Havenkamp said.
The ag shop still uses the original electric heating system installed in the 1970s. “We’re planning to switch over to a natural gas system,” Jones said.
“This was something on our list of improvements we were looking at doing. The grant really helped move it along,” Jones said. “This grant will allow us to upgrade to a more efficient system that will make that space more comfortable for students to learn and work while saving the district money on energy costs.”
Plans call for the work to be done over the summer.
“We’re hoping to have it done when students come back to school in August,” Jones said.
A variety of grants available to schools and classrooms help upgrade equipment and technology for students, and Havenkamp has other projects in mind for the ag shop and the greenhouse.
“We would like to look at potentially getting some shade cloth on the inside of the greenhouse to help with energy efficiency and help retain heat more for our plants,” she said. “We wouldn’t use as much heat or propane in the wintertime.”
Havenkamp keeps “teaching plants” for propagation lessons in the greenhouse along with succulents during the school year, and right now, it houses a variety of spring annual seedlings from geraniums to pansies.
“We sell them as a fundraiser usually around the first week of May. It works perfect for Mother’s Day, and it supports a great cause,” she said. “We also do some vegetables, starting them from seeds, and the kids get to see all their hard work in the end when we get to sell them.”