The latest educational building in the state to earn an ENERGY STAR is not a K-12 school, but is home to the Kentucky School Boards Association. The association’s office building at 260 Democrat Drive in Frankfort was presented with that certification Sept. 28 by officials with the state Department for Energy Development and Independence.
In presenting the ENERGY STAR recognition at a ceremony at KSBA, Lee Colten, the department’s assistant director, called the partnership between the two agencies “phenomenal.”
Rick Bender, far right, of the Energy and Environment Cabinet, presented the ENERGY STAR award to, from left, KSBA’s School Energy Managers Project Director Ron Willhite, KSBA Executive Director Mike Armstrong and KSBA Operations Manager Jeff Million.
“I know KSBA’s primary mission is about education. Our primary mission is about energy. But there is an overlap and it’s been mutually beneficial to both of us,” he said. “KSBA earned an 83, which means it’s in the top 83rd percentile for similar-type buildings across the nation. Pretty remarkable. You have to get 75 to earn the energy star. So that’s no small feat. You’re right up there with all the other schools in the state you’ve been helping get there. “
KSBA’s office is among 78 office buildings in Kentucky to earn an ENERGY STAR.
“To be an effective leader, you have to practice what you preach,” said Ron Willhite, who directs KSBA’s School Energy Managers Project, which supports energy-efficiency efforts for all Kentucky public schools. “Eliminating wasteful energy practices can lead to saving money and becoming better environmental stewards, which is what has happened for KSBA and over 340 of Kentucky’s public K–12 schools.”
As KSBA’s SEMP carried out its work, the association also “began applying strategies to eliminate wasteful practices and learn to become an energy-efficient leader in our daily work,” explained Executive Director Mike Armstrong.
Since 2011, KSBA:
• Replaced inefficient HVAC equipment.
• Installed new lighting and programmable thermostats.
• Began using power strips with timers.
• Increased insulation levels.
• Included energy reports at staff meetings.
This has meant $2,000 in annual savings, which is significant for a small office building, said Operations Manager Jeff Million. In 2010, Million said, KSBA used 213,000 kilowatt-hours of power. “Last year, which has been our best year yet, we used 156,000. That’s about a 30 percent decrease in kWh usage,” he said, calling it “more of a group effort for the whole company.”
DEDI internal policy analyst Eileen Hardy noted, “Every day, everyone who works in this building has contributed to earning this national recognition.”
The Education Professional Standards Board has three new members, appointed in October by Gov. Matt Bevin. They are Johnson County Schools Superintendent Thomas Salyer, who represents school administrators; and Jefferson County teacher Daniel R. Morgan and Russell County educator Tracy Voils Adams, both representing secondary school teachers. Salyer replaces Pendleton County Schools Superintendent Anthony Strong, while Morgan and Adams replace Cassandra Webb and Sandy Sinclair-Curry. The three new members will serve terms expiring Sept. 18, 2020.