WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–September 2, 2009. During the back to school season, EPA is challenging school administrators and building managers to improve energy efficiency throughout their facilities. School districts can answer EPA’s call-to-action by taking the Energy Star Challenge, a pledge to improve the energy efficiency of our nation’s buildings. Schools that accept the challenge will join more than 500 school districts across the country that are helping to fight climate change by committing to reducing their energy use with help from Energy Star.
“Our schools are doing their best to prepare our children for the future, and now they can help make sure that future includes a clean, safe environment,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Taking the Energy Star Challenge will help participating districts cut down on their electricity bills. Money they would have spent on energy can go back into the classroom, where it really belongs.”
The annual energy bill to operate America’s primary and secondary schools totals nearly $8 billion — more than is spent on textbooks and computers combined. Schools that take the Energy Star Challenge can use energy tracking tools, technical guidance, case studies, and other Energy Star tools and resources to help them improve their energy efficiency.
Nearly 2,000 schools have earned EPA’s Energy Star label for superior energy efficiency, including some in Oregon’s Gresham-Barlow School District, which cut energy use by 48 percent. In one year, the district saved more than $1.3 million in utility costs, the equivalent of 24 fulltime teachers’ salaries. Council Rock, a school district in Pa., has reduced its energy use by 40 percent since 2005, mostly through improved operations and maintenance of building systems. In a three-year period, the district saved more than $4.7 million.
EPA is also asking parents, teachers and students to work together to save energy at home and at school. To engage youth and families in learning about changes they can make in their homes and schools to save energy and protect the environment, Energy Star has teamed with Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) Today, a national organization dedicated to supporting family involvement in education. Together with Energy Star, PTO Today offers “Go Green Night” activities to the nation’s parent-teacher organizations, to help families learn about saving energy together.