EPA Names North Penn School District 2013 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year
North Penn Students Help Slash Energy Usage by 35%
Representativesfrom Pennsylvania’s North Penn School District are preparing to travel to Washington, D.C. to receive a prestigious award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA is recognizing North Penn School District as a 2013 ENERGYSTAR Partner of the Year for strategically managing and improving the energy performance of its facilities.
The results are impressive. The district slashed its energy waste by 35% to date. Over 400 students are engaged in North Penn’s energy efficiency initiatives as part of the PowerSave Schools program run by the Alliance to Save Energy.
In 2013 alone, the school district has reduced costs, incorporated hands-on student energy efficiency learning and prevented 5,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released.
North Penn School District is one of only four school districts in the entire United States to be named a 2013 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year and will be recognized at an awards ceremony on March 26, 2013 in the nation’s capital.
More Than $1 Million Saved
He added, “This was achieved through operational and behavioral changes and with no capital expenditure. It required a real team effort, with students, teachers, administrators and staff all doing their part.”
Students launch awareness campaigns, prepare websites, perform energy audits, interpret data, make recommendations, and develop awards for good energy practices.
200+ Student Energy Audits
“Students in the program have been busy,” said PowerSave Schools Local Project Leader Jacqui Baxter. She works directly with teacher/student teams to help organize students lead change at each of the nine schools.
To date, students conducted energy audits in over 200 classrooms and have made recommendations on how to utilize more natural light, be efficient with fluorescent lighting and reduce appliance energy use.
Teams of students in all schools led a range of education and awareness-raising activities, ranging from placing posters around the school, recording ‘green tips’ shown on internal TV monitors, writing articles for the school newspaper and placing stickers on light-switch plates to remind people about the ‘Last Out, Lights Out’ campaign.
At Pennbrook Middle School students solicited over 300 personal energy-saving pledges that were displayed in the school cafeteria. There have also been numerous visits by the energy-wasting mascot, the Energy Hog, to remind students to keep an eye out for energy waste.
“It is important to remember that whether it’s the teacher who turns off her lights, projector and computer at the end of the day or the sophisticated computer systems in place to power down mechanical units when not needed, every penny and kilowatt saved add up to more resources for students," said North Penn School District Manager of Support Services John Strobel.
Overheard: North Penn Students Save
Students in the North Penn School District express their excitement about the program:
- Connor, from North Penn High School, said, “This program is an outstanding program. It has been so educational for me. I have learned different ways and techniques on how to save energy. I have learned that having one simple light in a room turned off, makes such a significant change in energy, cost, and use.”
- Nick B., an Energy Trooper at the high school said, “I have learned how to audit a building and how to interpret raw data. I have been able to work outside my comfort zone with students who share an interest that isn’t purely academic. Finally, the program has had a perceptible impact on the behaviors of teachers and students alike.”
- Antoniette, a student at Penndale Middle School, has appreciated being involved. She said, “The program is very fun to participate in. It saves energy and money for the school. Also, it helps the environment around us by clearing air and helping other people.”
Direct Energy Makes the Program Possible
Direct Energy is sponsoring the PowerSave Schools program in nine North Penn schools: North Penn High School; Pennbrook and Penndale middle schools; and Bridle Path, General Nash, Gwyn-Nor, Hatfield, Knapp and Oak Park elementary schools. Each school has a dedicated team comprising of teachers, custodians, and students, and together they identify areas of inefficiency and make recommendations for energy savings.
“We want to empower students with ways they can save energy both at home and at school,” says Senior Vice President of Direct Energy Rob Comstock . “The success of PowerSave Schools drives home the fact that when you give students the tools they need to succeed, anything is possible.”