KSBA Recognizes Energy Efficiency in Schools

KSBA Recognizes Energy Efficiency in Schools

Owensboro's Sutton Elementary is 400th ENERGY STAR School

January 23, 2018
Contact Mary Branham, Director of Communications

KSBA Recognizes 400th ENERGY STAR School,
Top Energy-Efficient Schools in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, KY – The Kentucky School Boards Association today recognized the 400th school in Kentucky to be certified as an ENERGY STAR building along with the five most energy-efficient districts in the state for the 2016-17 school year.

Since 2010, KSBA has been involved with supporting energy-efficiency efforts in school districts across the commonwealth.

“It has been remarkable what has been done,” KSBA Executive Director Kerri Schelling said. “School boards have made decisions impacting facility energy consumption and school districts have implemented energy management plans and procedures that have now saved $170 million. That is something to celebrate!”

In 2010, 65 Kentucky schools were rated as ENERGY STAR buildings. Sutton Elementary in Owensboro Independent became the 400th building to achieve that designation in November 2017.

Ron Willhite, director of KSBA’s School Energy Managers Project, said helping schools achieve that status is a major focus of the project because it helps school districts save money. ENERGY STAR schools are in the top 25 percent of energy-efficient schools nationwide, he said.

“While there are many agencies that offer or provide external certification, ENERGY STAR was chosen as a metric because the ENERGY STAR certification provides independent verification of actual energy-efficiency measures from sound energy management practices,” Willhite said.

Even though Sutton Elementary added more than 15,000 square feet to its footprint during a renovation, it was able to reduce energy requirements by 30 percent by incorporating innovative design features such as LED lighting, updated building automation control, demand controlled ventilation and instantaneous water heating, Willhite said. In three years, Owensboro Independent has reduced energy costs by 26 percent.

“Leadership at every level must understand the total impact of energy management on budgets as well as the economic growth for our state,” said state Rep. Jim Gooch. “Kentucky is the clear leader with school energy management. This has required efforts of state, regional and local leaders and a significant focus by local energy specialists.”

Schools across the commonwealth are striving to be more energy efficient. Jon Nipple, project manager with KSBA/SEMP, said school districts have achieved a 23 percent improvement in energy efficiency, saving schools more than $170 million.

“Dollars that at one time would have gone to the utility companies are now being redirected into the classrooms of Kentucky,” said Nipple.

Nipple recognized the efforts of five school districts – Owen County, Butler County, Nelson County, Walton Verona Independent and Scott County – for their energy-efficiency efforts.

“While all of these districts have used slightly different approaches to save energy, there is one thing they have in common – they understand that wasted energy equals wasted dollars,” Nipple said. “They exemplify the success of energy management in all of Kentucky’s school districts.”

State Sen. Jared Carpenter, co-chair of the Interim Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, said, “The emphasis on energy efficiency and energy costs has led public schools to make more informed decisions in creating better learning environments while saving energy and dollars. ... Energy costs are among the largest financial hardships on my constituents and I understand that other than salaries, it is the largest cost for most schools. Continuing to look for ways to manage our energy and resources is key to our long-term well-being.”

Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt noted the growing costs of educating Kentucky students and the challenge to find revenue to cover those costs. While energy costs are rising, he said, school leaders have responded and found ways to save money.

“I applaud all the efforts by all districts to manage energy use and expenditures, and encourage continued focus on managing this critical line item,” he said.


The Kentucky School Boards Association was established in 1936 and represents 863 school board members from across the state to provide training, services and collegiality to aid in the effort of providing the best education possible for public school students across Kentucky.
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