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Several education institutions named Energy Star Partners of the Year

April 19, 2018
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency honors organizations, including schools and universities, that have made outstanding contributions to protect the environment and use energy efficiently.

Several education institutions have been named Energy Star Partners of the Year for 2018 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The agency will hold an awards ceremony on Friday to honor the recipients. Among those being recognized:

•Des Moines (Iowa) Public Schools
•Fairfax County (Va.) Public Schools
•Gresham-Barlow (Ore.) School District
•Kenton County (Ky.) School District
•Kentucky School Boards Association
•Loudoun County (Va.) Public Schools
•Mansfield (Texas) Independent School District
•Northwestern University
•Scott County (Ky.) Schools
•Virginia Beach (Va.) City Public Schools

The EPA says its Partner of the Year Awards are the highest honors given by the agency to organizations that protect the environment through superior energy efficiency.

The Des Moines district is receiving Partner of the Year—Sustained Excellence recognition "for its longstanding commitment to sustainability and implementation of Energy Star best practices for comprehensive energy management," the EPA says.

Sustained Excellence recognition is given to organizations that have earned Partner of the Year for several years in a row.

Des Moines spends an average of $114 per student on energy costs, compared with the national average of $205 per student. Since 2009, it has prevented the emissions of more than 9,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. By replacing more than 23,000 fluorescent lights with LED lights, it saves more than 910,000 kilowatt hours annually.

The Fairfax County district is receiving its award "for its ongoing commitment to finding new ways to save energy," the EPA says. The district saved more than $5 million in energy costs in 2017 through a comprehensive energy program, and since 2014 has prevented the emissions of more than 92,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. 

The Gresham-Barlow district was recognized for Sustained Excellence for environmental efforts such as saving more than $14.5 million since 2004 through a multifaceted energy management approach; and passing a $291 million bond proposal using Energy Star materials to promote and explain the district's energy efficiency efforts.

The Kenton County district also was recognized for Sustained Excellence. It avoided more than $1.4 million in energy costs in 2017 through energy management and reduction—the equivalent of 38 teaching positions. Since 2005, energy management strategies have saved more than $11 million.

The Kentucky School Boards Association received Sustained Excellence recognition for creating the School Energy Managers Project, which facilitates energy-efficiency projects in schools, and for increasing the number of Energy Star-certified schools in the state—from six in 2006 to more than 410.The association's efforts have resulted in more than $170 million in avoided energy costs since 2010.

The Loudoun County district received Sustained Excellence honors for its longstanding commitment to conservation as an Energy Star Partner for 20 years. Since 1993, the district has prevented the emissions of 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Sixty-six buildings in the school system have earned Energy Star certification.

The Mansfield district also has received Sustained Excellence recognition. Inn 2017, it reduced utility costs by nearly $1.5 million, decreased energy use by more than 21 percent, and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 5,200 metric tons. It received the Texas Environmental Excellence Award from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for innovative management and operations.

Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., received Partner of the Year recognition for integrating its energy management program into all levels of campus operations, the EPA says. It has reduced energy use by more than 9 percent since 2012. A Green Cup competition in the university's residence halls resulted in savings of more than 167,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and more than 34,000 cubic feet of water.

The Scott County district has been an Energy Star partner since 2010 and received Sustained Excellence honors. By using Energy Star best practices, it amassed $900,000 in avoided costs in 2017. Since 2010, the savings surpass $5 million. The district has earned Energy Star certification for all its school buildings for four years in a row.

The Virginia Beach district received its award for its successful use and promotion of Energy Star tools and resources. Since 2006, it has avoided energy costs of more than $4 million per year. The district has converted heating and cooling systems at three schools to geothermal HVAC systems and incorporates them into the curriculum as teaching tools.

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