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Gresham-Barlow School District a National Leader in ENERGY STAR Program

Release Date: 9/7/2005
Contact Information: Robert Drake
(206) 553-4803

September 7, 2005

The Gresham-Barlow School District will soon be the first organization in the nation to be awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ENERGY STAR Leader award. The district will receive this prestigious award for improving the average energy efficiency of all its buildings by 30 percent over their baseline and raising the average efficiency of all their buildings to the top twenty-five percentile on EPA's Energy Performance Rating System.

On Thursday, September 8, 2005, at the Gresham-Barlow School Board meeting in Gresham, Oregon, Socorro Rodriguez, Director of EPA's Oregon Operations Office, will recognize the district and present the award.

As a result of the district's efforts, 12 of its 20 buildings earned the prestigious ENERGY STAR distinction. These awards are similar to the widely-recognized ENERGY STAR label on household appliances and like the appliance label, denote superior energy efficiency. Each of the 12 buildings outperforms similar buildings in the U.S. by at least 25 points (on a 100 point scale) on the EPA's Energy Performance Rating System.

The Gresham-Barlow District's buildings use about 40 percent less energy than the national average for K-12 school buildings. That means it will cost the district about 40 percent less to heat, cool, and light the buildings than average schools in the area. In turn, their buildings, directly or indirectly, prevent 40 percent of the greenhouse gases and other environmental impacts associated with the energy generation.

"We are fortunate to have the people and institutions in this region that demonstrate the leadership and commitment Superintendent Noah, his staff and students, have shown in achieving these outstanding energy efficiency results," said Michael Bogert, EPA Region 10 Administrator. "They are not only saving funds that will support education, they are helping to conserve our water and keep our air clean now and into the future. We at EPA send a heartfelt thank you for your achievements. We hope you inspire others."

These achievements have stemmed from the Gresham-Barlow District's vision and district-wide commitment to Resource Conservation Management (RCM), a management practice that incorporates improving energy and resource efficiency into the district's day-to-day operations. The district has been proactive in identifying and implementing measures to reduce energy use while maintaining the building's comfort and services. Since the beginning of its RCM program in 1999, Gresham-Barlow School District has saved a total of $4.3 million and avoided utility costs of $1.1 million for this past school year of 2004/2005. The District has also decreased its overall energy use by 46 percent. Last year's savings alone represent the salaries of approximately 22 teaching positions.

None of this would of been possible without the assistance of following organizations;
  • New Energy Technology (NET), for implementing the energy management system;
  • Save More Resources (SMR), for its energy accounting and profiling software which interfaces with the ENERGY STAR rating system and;
  • The utility manager, Portland General Electric (PGE), for its reliable 15-minute interval data that provides the district's RCM team with information to make daily decisions based on energy use the day before.

Buildings nationwide can earn the ENERGY STAR by rating 75 or higher on EPA's 100-point Energy Performance Rating System. In addition, it's important to note that these buildings must also meet ENERGY STAR standards for building comfort and indoor air quality, as verified by an independent professional engineer.

The ENERGY STAR program has tools and resources that help consumers, businesses, schools and many other organizations improve energy efficiency.

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