Schools save $1.3 million a year by using 50 percent less energy than average

The Environmental Protection Agency has named the Gresham-Barlow School District a 2008 'Energy Star Partner of the Year' for its superior conservation efforts.

The winners are chosen from a list of 9,000 organizations that participate in the Energy Star program. Gresham-Barlow is one of only two school districts in the nation to receive the award.

Schools in the Gresham-Barlow district use 50 percent less energy than the national average for K-12 school buildings, enabling the district to avoid utility costs of $1.3 million last year.

Last year's savings alone represent the salaries of approximately 26 teaching positions, the district said.

'Staff members throughout the district make energy conservation a priority, and their dedication is paying off,' Superintendent Ken Noah said.

'We believe the fiscal savings realized through our energy management demonstrates our commitment to being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.'

The school district has reduced its energy use by installing software that allows staff to closely track whether utility reduction measures are having an effect.

The software also allows personnel to quickly determine whether a building is using an unusual amount of energy, allowing for a more immediate and precise remedy.

The Energy Star Partner of the Year Award is given to a variety of organizations to recognize their efforts to use energy efficiently in facility operations and to integrate energy efficiency into overall organizational strategy. The award also honors organizations for their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

'The Gresham-Barlow School District's leadership in managing their energy use is a model for school districts and businesses looking for ways to protect the environment,' said Robert J. Meyers, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. 'Because commercial and industrial facilities account for half of all energy consumption in the U.S. and are responsible for nearly half of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, energy management is a critical element in our efforts on climate change.'

In 2004 the Gresham-Barlow School District partnered with energy consultant New Energy Technology.

This is the second time the Gresham-Barlow School District has received the award.

In 2006, it was the only school district in the nation to be named an 'Energy Star Partner of the Year.'

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