President Obama’s Plan Would 'Green’ Schools with Energy Efficiency

Release Date: Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Green Schools Program Proves Modernization is a Winning Strategy

Washington, D.C., September 13, 2011 – President Obama’s plan under the proposed American Jobs Act to modernize schools across the country by making them more energy efficient will create jobs while saving energy and money.

The president’s proposed $25 billion investment in school infrastructure to modernize at least 35,000 public schools will include funds for “greening and energy efficiency upgrades,” according to a White House fact sheet.

“Energy efficiency upgrades are an essential component of the president’s plan to create jobs by making substantial investments in our nation’s school buildings, some in communities with the highest needs,” said Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan. “In many schools, energy costs are second only to personnel costs and can far exceed what is spent on textbooks, other supplies and activities critical to learning.”

Green Schools Program: Up to 15% in Energy Bill Savings

Schools have been a focus of the Alliance’s work since 1996, and with a 15-year track record of making schools more energy efficient, the Alliance’s Green Schools Program touts yearly energy bill savings of as much as 15% through no-cost, student-initiated behavior and operations changes. Students have also done research on school energy that has stimulated retrofits.

“Our Green Schools Program has touched thousands of schools across the country and tens of thousands of student participants,” said Callahan. “And the broad reach of those energy efficiency lessons is demonstrated when students bring the knowledge from the classroom to their own homes and the community at large.”

Green Schools in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, California

  • The Memphis City School District, one of the 100 largest high-need public school districts that would benefit under President Obama’s plan, already participates in the Green Schools Program. The Memphis district’s Green Schools Program includes all 183 schools, where students are empowered to help devise simple behavioral changes that save energy, including de-lamping vending machines and turning off lights in rooms that are not in use. 
  • A newly launched Green School Program in 16 Pennsylvania schools has created a public/private partnership with Direct Energy to implement changes in classrooms and beyond, so the energy efficiency techniques can be utilized in the community as well. 
  • In California, over 1,000 schools have participated since 1999 and are now averaging 10-15% energy use reductions in each school.

Schools Lead Country Toward More Energy Efficiency

“Green Schools offer K-12 students high-quality learning opportunities by integrating energy efficiency information into their science, math and language arts curricula,” Callahan added. “They aren’t just conserving energy at school, they are learning how to be lifelong stewards of energy savings."

“Programs like Green Schools, coupled with the president’s job creating-school modernization proposal, move the country in the right direction – a direction that recognizes energy efficiency as the cheapest, quickest, cleanest way to extend our nation’s energy supplies,” Callahan concluded. 

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