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      Houghton-Portage Township schools get Energy Star certified

      Both Houghton-Portage Township school buildings received an award for their eco-friendly facilities.

      The Energy Star Certification was awarded to the school by the Environmental Protection Agency. The district had to score higher than 75 points on a 100 scale. The district now holds two of the three schools in the Upper Peninsula with the rare designation.

      In 2008, voters approved a $12.5 million bond issue that included energy and technology upgrades for the schools, including a new gymnasium and band room.

      "With the very tight budgets we have, it's important to us that we spend our money educating kids, not burning up electricity and gas, so in terms of being able to provide the best product for our community, we feel we've done that," said Houghton-Portage Township Board President Buck Foltz.

      The district has been able to reduce energy use by 30 percent.

      In 2010, the schools saved more than $70,000 in electric bills.

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