Vermont designates first ENERGY STAR® schools
State and Federal officials joined with Efficiency Vermont and the Vermont Superintendents Association today to confer ENERGY STAR recognition on 11 schools. The sought-after designation indicates that the schools are in the top 25% nationally for energy efficiency, and that they meet stringent standards for health, ventilation, comfort, and lighting quality. Today’s award ceremony also marked the launch of Project Green School, a unique collaboration that will seek to put all Vermont schools on the path toward ENERGY STAR designation by 2020.
The 11 schools that were honored today represent communities throughout Vermont: Addison Central School, Brattleboro Union High School, Camels Hump Middle School, Champlain Valley Union High School, Clarendon Elementary School, Harwood Union High School, Lake Region Union High School, Mount Mansfield Union High School, Shelburne Community School, Waits River Valley School, and Woodbury Elementary School.
“Washington could learn a lot from the way these schools are taking practical steps to save money while reducing environmental impact,” said Congressman Peter Welch. “Project Green School is yet another example of Vermont’s trailblazing efforts on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Congratulations to Efficiency Vermont and the School Energy Management Program for their leadership on the simple and practical notion that saving energy can create jobs, cut utility bills and improve the environment.”
Curt Spalding, Regional Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, which presented ENERGY STAR flags to delegations from each of the schools being honored, said: “I’m so impressed with Vermont’s ambitious goal. Vermont is the first state to pursue ENERGY STAR designation for every school within its borders. EPA is committed to supporting this groundbreaking effort and celebrating success with Vermont schools and the communities they serve.”
Vermont has long been a leader in bringing energy efficiency and renewable energy into schools. Over the last 13 years, Efficiency Vermont and the Vermont Superintendents Association’s School Energy Management Program have supported 1200 energy efficiency projects at 350 schools, delivering $43 million dollars in energy savings over the lifetime of the projects. In the area of renewable energy, Vermont has pioneered the use of woodchip heating systems. Today, some 5.6 million square feet of space in Vermont schools is heated this way, with an annual savings of $2.6 million per year, and 30% of all Vermont public school students attend a wood heated school.
Project Green School is designed to take those collaborative efforts to the next level by working with every school in the Vermont. In attaining ENERGY STAR designation, Vermont schools will reduce costs to taxpayers and impact on the environment, while providing a healthy learning environment. In addition, the initiative will enable these schools to provide educational opportunities to students and staff throughout the energy improvement process.
“The 11 schools we are honoring today have done great work,” said Jim Merriam, Director of Efficiency Vermont. “But the steps they have taken are within reach of any school in our state. With focused effort and enhanced support through Project Green School, we are looking forward to helping every community in Vermont provide a healthier and more energy efficient environment for their students.”
Jeff Francis, Executive Director of the Vermont Superintendents Association noted that cost-effective energy projects are of great benefit to both students and local tax payers: “Over the last two decades we have worked with schools from across Vermont, and seen the impact that biomass energy and energy efficiency projects have on school budgets and their communities. They also have a powerful impact on students by improving the educational setting and promoting experiential learning.”
“We are excited to support this effort,” said Vermont Education Secretary Armando Vilaseca. “Our schools have been successful at collaborating and partnering within their communities and throughout Vermont in making their schools more environmentally friendly. Project Green School works with schools to help them save money and energy, and to achieve ENERGY STAR recognition.”
To learn more about Project Green School, or support your local school’s efforts to participate, visit www.efficiencyvermont.com/projectgreenschool.
About Efficiency Vermont
As the nation’s first Energy Efficiency Utility, Efficiency Vermont has helped Vermont avoid over 13.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and has received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence award for the last seven consecutive years. Efficiency Vermont works with partners to help our state transition to more affordable, low carbon energy use through education, incentives, and support for our clean energy workforce. Learn more at www.efficiencyvermont.com.
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