August 19, 2009
Charlottesville City Schools have taken big steps to become more energy efficient. The schools are emphasizing monthly checks on their energy consumption and urging students and staff to recycle. It's paying off.
Charlottesville City School officials announced Wednesday that five of their elementary schools are now Energy Star efficient. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awards the Energy Star to show that a building's energy performance rates in the top 25 percent of facilities nationwide. Officials say earning this title takes daily vigilance from everyone involved.
"It takes the teachers making sure the doors are shut when the kids come in the building and that custodial closet lights are off and that problems with the building are reported properly," said Lance Stewart, Charlottesville's Facilities Maintenance Manager.
The five elementary schools are Johnson, Clark, Venable, Burnley-Moran and Jackson-Via. Johnson Elementary received the highest Energy Star score of 94.
"Our students hear from me on the morning announcements, ways to positively impact our environment," said Johnson Elementary's Principal, Vernon Bock. "Our students jump on board. It's great when you see a student walking down the hallway and picking up a piece of trash and putting it in the recycle bin."
An Energy Star seal is not easy to obtain. Commercial buildings with the blue star use about 40 percent less energy than a typical building.
"There are 21,000 schools through out the country that are being tracked," said Stewart. "Only less than 1,500 are Energy Star certified. Even our lowest rank school of 75 is in the top seven percent of schools who track."
These five elementary schools join ten other buildings in the Charlottesville area that share the same title. Those buildings include the Albemarle County office building and three Food Lions. There are 33 other schools in Virginia that are also Energy Star certified.
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