Since partnering with the Kentucky Energy Efficiency Program for Schools (KEEPS) in November 2006, Bullitt County Public Schools has saved over $5.5 million in energy costs.
During the 2016-2017 school year, the district’s energy management program saved $782,000. These savings are returned as investments to the school district such as Chromebooks, hiring additional nurses for schools, etc.
“Your actions do make a difference,” said District Energy Manager Kimberly Joseph. “BCPS has continued to grow in square footage over the past 13 years (over 700,000 ft2) but we’re using 31% less energy than our baseline year (2005-2006).”
Data on the energy use intensity (energy use per square foot) across all K- 12 schools in the nation shows that schools range from less than 50 kBtu/ft2 to 500 kBtu/ft2. BCPS school buildings range from 29 kBtu/ft2 (Zoneton Middle) to 55 kBtu/ft2 (Pleasant Grove).
Energy use intensity (EUI) provides a way to compare energy use across buildings of different sizes and types. EUI converts all energy use in a building (natural gas, electricity, etc.) to a common measure kBtu (thousand British thermal units). The kBtu is then divided by the building’s square footage. (A simple way to understand EUI is that it is the energy a building uses in a year, divided by its total square footage).
Big ticket item during school renovations include heating and air systems and lighting designed for maximum energy efficiency. Little things such as turning off classroom lights and unplugging appliances continue adding up energy savings.
Through water conservation efforts, the district also used 6,000,000 gallons less water last year when compared to the baseline.
“It’s not just BCPS that is striving to be more energy efficient,” Joseph said. “School districts across Kentucky are participating in energy efficiency programs, and Kentucky currently has 396 ENERGY STAR labeled schools. Our average ENERGY STAR score for our certified buildings is a 91. ENERGY STAR rates buildings on a scale of 1 – 100. Any building with a score of 75 or greater can apply for ENERGY STAR certification. So just like a child’s grade in a class, the closer you are to 100, the better your grade is.”
There are 17 ENERGY STAR schools in the district with two facilities likely to be added during the 2017-2018 school year. These schools are ranked among the top in the nation for energy efficiency. Top performing ENERGY STAR labeled schools are about forty cents per square foot less to operate than average performing school buildings.
“For a 100,000 ft2 school building, with our utility rates, that equates to about $55,500 in energy savings per year,” Joseph explained.
ENERGY STAR elementary schools and their rankings include Brooks (94), Cedar Grove (91), Crossroads (96), Freedom (92), Lebanon Junction (91), Maryville (89), Nichols (89), Overdale (97), Pleasant Grove (88), Roby (89) and Shepherdsville (93).
ENERGY STAR middle/high schools plus rankings are Bullitt Lick (91), Eastside (77), Hebron (91), Mt. Washington (91), Zoneton (97) and North Bullitt (92).
Many schools sponsor student energy teams whose mission is to track, tabulate and teach fellow students and teachers ways to conserve energy.
The district had the distinction of being named a 2016 National ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award.