Sustaining School Success in Prince George's County

Keeping an eye on almost 200 facilities for the 127,000 students in Prince George’s County (Md.) Public Schools keeps maintenance workers on their toes.

Maintenance officials are overseeing a new multi-year sustainability contract that will help the district save more than $194 million in utility and operational costs and reduce its carbon footprint.

The district is paying for the effort through a performance contract and state grants that provide energy and operational efficiency retrofits. The result: lower energy, operating and capital costs and an improved indoor learning environment.

"There’s immediate impact from the projects we have done," says Larry Pauling, director of the Department of Maintenance. "With aging facilities, when students and staff see brand-new fixtures and brand-new water closets, they get excited.

"I’m personally very excited about the controlled system optimization plan that we’re going to go into," he says. "All of our schools will be connected to a centralized energy-management computer system that we can monitor. We can see whether we’re hitting our targets, and we can make adjustments."

Beyond energy and water efficiency, the project involves installing solar thermal domestic hot-water systems and solar electric photovoltaic systems at five schools. As part of the contract, Johnson Controls provides green-collar job training for operations and maintenance personnel.

Even better, students are getting involved. Through the Academy of Energy Education, a program designed by the National Energy Foundation, students learn about renewables and efficiency at both school and home.

"Our kids are going into a world platform, and they need to be exposed to those kinds of programs," Pauling says.

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