2013-06-27 / Schools

Old Bridge schools save as ENERGY STAR leaders

OLD BRIDGE — The Old Bridge Township Public School District has joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s list of ENERGY STAR Leaders, an elite group of organizations that have improved energy efficiency across entire portfolios of commercial buildings.

The district has been recognized by the EPA as an ENERGY STAR Leader for improving the energy efficiency of its portfolio by 10 percent compared to a 2011 baseline.

Old Bridge Township Public Schools implemented the Schools for Energy Efficiency (SEE) program in all its schools, and an energy efficiency coordinator was hired to implement the program and oversee the energy conservation quest.

The district has improved its energy efficiency through the following measures: implementing an automatic shutdown program of all district CPUs every afternoon; hosting energy conservation contests at elementary and middle schools; installing LED lights in some of the schools; replacing weather stripping around many of the doors and adjusting nighttime set-back settings; turning off lights when classrooms are empty; and turning off monitors and SMART Boards when not in use.

The Board of Education adopted an energy policy in the spring of 2012 to further implement these practices. The district tracks energy consumption on a monthly basis in Portfolio Manager, EPA’s ENERGY STAR measurement and tracking tool.

As a result, the district has achieved a total cost savings of more than $349,000.

Compared to its 2011 baseline, the district is currently preventing the emissions of 1,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is equivalent to the carbon sequestered by more than 35,800 tree seedlings planted and grown for 10 years.

President Barack Obama announced a nationwide call-to-action last year to make commercial buildings 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020. EPA’s ENERGY STAR program provides a strategic pathway toward superior energy efficiency — including a focus on ongoing performance measurement and whole-building improvement — that has helped these leading organizations make meaningful progress toward the president’s goal.

ENERGY STAR Leaders must meet one of two energy efficiency improvement milestones. The first milestone requires a 10 percent improvement in energy performance across their entire building portfolio, and subsequent recognition is given for each 10 percent improvement thereafter.

The second milestone, known as “Top Performer,” requires the buildings in an organization’s portfolio to perform, on average, in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide. To be eligible for ENERGY STAR Leaders recognition, organizations are required to track and submit energy performance data for all buildings and fuel sources through EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool.

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