The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week announced its annual ENERGY STAR awards, and they had a strong Kentucky slant.
Three Kentucky districts – Bullitt, Kenton and Scott – were designated as ENERGY STAR Partners of the Year for 2016. They are among the Kentucky school districts with the longest-established energy efficiency programs.
And the KSBA School Energy Managers Project (SEMP) captured the ENERGY STAR “Sustained Excellence” designation for the third straight year.
The six-year-old SEMP initiative assists district personnel through analysis of technical issues, development and implementation of energy management plans and evaluation of energy technologies. It also helps educate school board members and administrators in implementing best practices at reducing energy costs, and is a resource to the network of school district energy managers it helps train and support.
“KSBA-SEMP aids schools in a unique way – providing energy management support, which is not your typical school board association service,” said KSBA Executive Director Mike Armstrong. “Rising utility costs have strained school budgets, but this program has allowed many districts to save significant dollars that can then be channeled into the classroom.”
SEMP Director Ron Willhite said the program has excelled because it is a true partnership with participating districts. “It’s an honor to accept the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for the third year on behalf of the efforts of Kentucky’s school districts,” he said. “This year is especially significant as being recognized with the sustained excellence award.”
“Kentucky schools have made significant progress in the last six years in eliminating wasteful spending on energy, as boards, staff and students have focused on implementing best energy efficiency practices,” Willhite said. “The ENERGY STAR certification provides positive recognition of responsible energy and fiscal management practices by school districts.”
Kentucky currently has 326 ENERGY STAR schools and efficiency work has resulted in accumulated avoided costs of more than $68 million.