Inside: Energy

May 1, 2002
Going green in Massachusetts; District dedicated to conservation; Push for cleaner-burning buses


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has named Jefferson County, Colo., Public Schools an Energy Star partner of the year for its pollution-prevention efforts.

The school district is the only K-12 institution among the 30 organizations that received the award in 2002, and the only organization to receive both an Energy Star Partner award and an Indoor Air Quality Excellence award, which it received last year.

“The achievements at Jefferson County Public Schools prove that good indoor air quality and energy efficiency go hand in hand to create healthy, high-performance schools,” says Kathleen Hogan, director of the EPA's Climate Protection Partnerships Division.

The district says the 41 recognized schools have saved a total of $457,246 annually through numerous energy-saving upgrades to heating and cooling systems, windows and lighting.


A pilot program in Massachusetts is making $13.5 million available to help school districts incorporate energy-efficient features into their construction and renovation projects.

The Massachusetts Green Schools Program will provide a district up to $130,000 for design costs and up to $500,000 for construction costs associated with installation of renewable energy technologies and enhanced energy-efficiency measures. The program also will provide funding for workshops and feasibility studies to help schools evaluate “greening” opportunities.

The initiative “will help create schools that utilize efficient renewable energy technologies, creating a healthier environment for students while helping communities lower their school operation and maintenance costs,” says Mitchell Adams, executive director of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

The green schools program is a joint venture of the collaborative and the Massachusetts Department of Education.

The first grants awarded will pay for including in school designs features and technologies such as skylights, fuel cells and solar, geothermal and wind energy.


School districts need technical, regulatory and financial help to pay for school buses that use cleaner-burning fuel, according to a study from a group of scientists.

“Many school districts do not have the resources to replace older school buses with newer, cleaner models,” states the findings of Pollution Report Card: Grading America's School Bus Fleet, produced by the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Some states make school districts choose between new buses and other educational expenses. As long as there remains a trade-off between books and buses, children's health may be compromised.”

The report states that diesel fuel, which powers 90 percent of the nation's 454,000 school buses, has been shown to cause or exacerbate numerous health problems. The group urges schools to switch to buses fueled by natural gas, which emits significantly fewer pollutants.

The scientists awarded each state a letter grade based on how well it limited pollutants emitted from buses. No states received an A from the scientists, and only six states — Alabama, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri and Pennsylvania — and the District of Columbia received grades as high as B.



Average school bus

New standard diesel

Natural gas

Smog-forming pollutants

417 pounds

322 pounds

215 pounds

Particulates (soot)

700 pounds

280 pounds

25 pounds

Source: Pollution Report Card: Grading America's School Bus Fleet, Union of Concerned Scientists.

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