A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Walton-Verona schools among top ENERGY STAR schools honored at Capitol Rotunda by KSBA

Walton-Verona Independent Schools were honored by the Kentucky School Boards Association as one of the top five energy-efficient school districts in Kentucky during a press conference Tuesday in the Capitol Rotunda.

The 400th ENERGY STAR school — Owensboro Independent School District — was also recognized.

“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.”

ENERGY STAR has remained the operational framework for advancing energy-efficiency practices in many school district portfolios. Six schools were labeled as ENERGY STAR in 2006; that has grown to 426 in 2017.

Since 2010, schools have reduced their energy utilization index (EUI) from 65 to 50 in 2017. EUI is the amount of energy consumed, measured in thousands of British Thermal Units (KBTU), and divided by the gross conditioned area in square feet. The national average for schools is 73.

In Kentucky, Owen County Schools leads all districts with an EUI of 33.2, a drop from the 2010 EUI measurement of 62.5. Owen County is followed closely by Butler County Schools at 33.5 EUI and Nelson County Schools at 33.6 EUI. Twenty-one districts operate below an EUI of 40, compared to three districts under that threshold in 2013.
According to analysis by KSBA’s School Energy Managers Program, Kentucky schools are heating and cooling more space but have offset rate increases through greater energy efficiency. Districts combined are spending nearly the same amount on energy as they did in 2010, even though conditioned space has grown about 1 percent annually over the past eight years and energy prices have increased.

Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt will offer remarks about the financial impact of energy savings on schools. Rep. Jim Gooch will discuss the beginning of energy-efficient schools in the state and Sen. Jared Carpenter will discuss the significance of recognition for the school districts.

Sutton Elementary in Owensboro Independent School District is the 400th Kentucky School to be listed as an ENERGY STAR School. The most efficient school districts, listed by order of ranking, are Owen County Schools, Butler County Schools, Nelson County Schools, Walton-Verona Independent Schools and Scott County Schools.

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