FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 22, 2012) – Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson joined state energy and education leaders this week to recognize 12 Kentucky schools for their efforts to lower energy costs by improving efficiencies in their buildings.
Each school earned an “ENERGY STAR” designation, part of a federal program that identifies education institutions that are among the top 5 percent in the nation for energy efficiency.
“As an administration that has a comprehensive energy plan aimed at creating statewide efficient, sustainable energy solutions and strategies, Gov. Beshear and I are proud to recognize these schools for their leadership in this area,” Abramson said.
The ENERGY STAR-designated schools recognized include:
Overdale Elementary – Bullitt County school district
Turkey Foot Middle – Kenton County school district
James A Caywood Elementary – Kenton County school district
Flaherty Primary – Meade County school district
Foster Heights Elementary – Nelson County school district
East Middle – Shelby County school district
Milton Elementary – Trimble County school district
Richardsville Elementary – Warren County school district
Warren East Middle – Warren County school district
Oakland Elementary – Warren County school district
Plano Elementary – Warren County school district
Cumberland Trace Elementary – Warren County school district
The newly announced 12 schools bring the number of Kentucky’s ENERGY STAR school buildings to 160. The number has more than doubled over the last two years.
The ENERGY STAR program is a key element of Beshear’s comprehensive energy plan. To increase energy efficiency in Kentucky’s public schools, Beshear authorized $5.2 million in 2009 Recovery funds from the U.S. Department of Energy, knowing schools would be able to save money by saving energy.
This funding helped create the Kentucky School Energy Managers Project, a partnership between the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Department for Energy Development and Independence and the Kentucky School Boards Association.
Under this program, the Kentucky School Boards Association hired 35 school energy managers serving some 130 participating school districts, to bring increased energy efficiency management and sustainable programs to Kentucky’s schools.
“With assistance from the School Energy Managers Project, Kentucky school districts have avoided nearly $13 million in cumulative energy costs,” said Bill Scott, executive director of the Kentucky School Boards Association. “This money can be better spent in classrooms.”
In the United States, energy costs for public schools are in the billions – more than states spend on textbooks and computers combined, according to the Kentucky Department of Education.
The department’s Greg Dunbar said ENERGY STAR schools cost 40 cents per square foot less to operate while incorporating an education element at each school.
“These Kentucky ENERGY STAR schools have embraced the concept wholeheartedly and have incorporated energy efficiency and performance into their curriculum, so that students benefit in multiple ways,” Dunbar said. “Although efficiency and sound energy management are hallmarks of the ENERGY STAR program, it also increases students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, helping prepare them for life after high school.”
Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters said with federal stimulus funding expiring, the impact of the schools’ accomplishments leaves a legacy for energy independence for Kentucky’s future.
“In the last several years, school districts across the Commonwealth have come to recognize the importance that reduced energy consumption has to their bottom line,” Peters said. “By following ENERGY STAR standards, districts are able to cut energy costs, help the environment and put those cost savings back into their school systems for teachers and curriculum.”
For more information on ENERGY STAR, visit www.energystar.gov.