Wednesday, April 11, 2012

26 KCK schools receive National ENERGY STAR awards

Twenty-six buildings in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools have earned ENERGY STAR certification from the federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency. 

This recognition is given to the most energy efficient buildings in the country. 

The schools were recognized at the Kansas City, Kansas Board of Education meeting on April 10.

“We are extremely pleased to receive this recognition from ENERGY STAR,” said Dr. Kelli Mather, chief financial officer. “Our energy conservation efforts are saving taxpayer dollars while also helping protect our local environment. We are very proud of our conservation success and honored to be recognized by ENERGY STAR.”

Buildings earning ENERGY STAR certification were:

Banneker Elementary
Bethel Elementary
Caruthers Elementary
Claude Huyck Elementary
Douglass Elementary
Emerson Elementary
Eugene Ware Elementary
Frank Rushton Elementary
Grant Elementary
Hazel Grove Elementary
J.F. Kennedy Elementary
Lindbergh Elementary
Mark Twain Elementary
New Chelsea Elementary
Noble Prentis Elementary
Parker Elementary
Stony Point South Elementary
T.A. Edison Elementary
Welborn Elementary
W.A. White Elementary
Northwest Middle
Rosedale Middle
West Middle
F.L. Schlagle High
Sumner Academy of Arts and Science
Wyandotte High

To earn ENERGY STAR certification, buildings must rate in the top 25 percent nationwide for energy efficiency.

Since the implementation of the Energy Education program in September 2009, the district has realized a savings of more than $3.6 million. In a lagging economy, this savings has helped maximize funds available for classroom instruction, programs, and maintaining personnel.

The key to the success of the program lies in educating staff. Energy Savings Specialists Malinda Threadgill and Curtis Stevenson have worked at building relationships with staff, students, and the community to achieve this goal.

They have focused on simple conservation efforts that add up to big savings and support a cleaner environment. Staff have worked at turning off unnecessary equipment and lights, closing shades, and using energy efficient light bulbs. 

They also have changed negative energy savings behaviors such as opening classroom windows or blocking open playground doors during recess. 

In addition to ensuring that all buildings are properly shutdown during periods of non-occupancy, they also work during occupied times with staffs on comfort issues and improving communications between buildings and maintenance departments.

To date, the Energy Education program has surpassed its original projected savings by more than $400,000. If the program continues at this pace, it will result in energy savings equivalent to $23,268,000 over a 10-year period.

“People use energy – buildings don’t, so it’s up to each of us to focus our efforts on conserving,” Mather said. “Our staff is to be commended for the dozens of changes, large and small, they have adopted to make this program a success. And these lessons we learn can certainly be passed along to our students.”

According to ENERGY STAR, U.S. school districts spend $6 billion combined each year on energy and in most districts, more money is spent on utility bills than any other budget item except salaries.

The good news is significant conservation savings are possible. 

ENERGY STAR reports that the top energy-performing schools use three times less energy than the least efficient schools.