Four Juneau Schools Earn EPA’s ENERGY STAR®

(December 21, 2010) - Juneau-Douglas High School, Floyd Dryden Middle School, Auke Bay Elementary School and Glacier Valley Elementary School were each recognized by the Juneau Board of Education this week for their success in saving energy. All four schools earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) prestigious ENERGY STAR, the national symbol for protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency.

This rating signifies that the school performs in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency. Products and buildings that have earned the ENERGY STAR prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the government. Data indicates that Gastineau and Harborview Elementary Schools will also qualify for the rating in the future.

"The Juneau School District is pleased to accept EPA’s ENERGY STAR in recognition of our energy efficiency efforts,” said Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich. "Through this achievement, our schools have demonstrated a strong commitment to environmental stewardship while also lowering our energy costs.”

Commercial buildings that earn the ENERGY STAR use an average of 35 percent less energy than typical buildings and release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The schools were evaluated on carbon dioxide emissions, heating and lighting, taking into consideration square footage and climate. They are then ranked in comparison to other schools around the country. The school district improved its energy performance by managing energy strategically and making cost-effective improvements in schools. 

School District Energy Education Specialist Joyce Kitka presented the award to school principals during the meeting and acknowledged that it is the partnership between the schools and the maintenance department that creates results.  “We can only save so much by tweaking the mechanical systems - the rest comes from changing behaviors.”

The district’s lead Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioninig (HVAC) Mechanic Steve Bradner agreed, “It takes us all working together to truly achieve these high goals. Participation from the teachers, staff and students – doing things like turning off lights – makes the real difference.”

EPA’s ENERGY STAR energy performance scale helps organizations assess how efficiently their buildings use energy relative to similar buildings nationwide. A building that scores a 75 or higher on EPA’s 1-100 scale is eligible for the ENERGY STAR. All four Juneau schools achieved scores in the 90s.

EPA introduced ENERGY STAR in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. “Improving the energy efficiency of our nation’s buildings is critical to protecting our environment, “ said Jean Lupinacci, Chief of the ENERGY STAR Commercial & Industrial Branch. “From the boiler room to the board room, organizations are leading the way by making their buildings more efficient and earning EPA’s ENERGY STAR.”

The ENERGY STAR rating is just one piece of the school district’s overall energy savings program. In January, the Juneau School District received an Energy Excellence Award for achieving $1 million in cost savings after forming a strategic alliance with Energy Education, a national energy conservation company. As part of the ongoing program, district Energy Education Specialist Joyce Kitka tracks energy consumption —including electricity, water, sewer, and fuel oil — using energy-accounting software.

Kitka compares current energy use to a baseline period and calculates the amount of energy that would have been used had conservation and management practices not been implemented. By tracking consumption and analyzing energy use, she can quickly identify and help correct areas that need immediate attention.  The Juneau School has learned their lessons well and will look to implement other measures that have proven successful for other districts across the nation. 

For more information about ENERGY STAR visit www.energystar.gov/buildings.