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Energy Star Award at Stephen Girard Elementary School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Talking Points for Governor Christine Todd Whitman
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
at the
Energy Star Award Presentation
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

December 2, 2002

Thank you Ms. (Jackie) Wolf for that introduction.

Today, I = m pleased to recognize the Philadelphia school district for their efforts to protect the environment and provide for their students.

More than 50 million children in America spend their days in our elementary and secondary schools, and here in Philadelphia over 205,000 students are served by the nation = s seventh largest school district.

Like many large urban school districts, Philadelphia schools face the challenges of steadily increasing enrollment and aging school facilities.

Of the 264 schools in the district, more than half were built between 1890 and 1930. Older facilities often face many challenges, including high energy bills.

Fortunately, the Philadelphia school district has taken proactive measures to address this problem.

Twenty years ago, the district launched the Save Energy campaign, recognizing that money saved on utility bills is money that can be invested in students.

This approach was highly successful, helping schools save $150 million on their utility bills.

Taking the commitment to improving energy performance a step further, the Philadelphia School District joined EPA = s Energy Star program.

Energy Star is a voluntary program between government agencies, such as the Department of Energy, businesses, schools, and consumers united in the pursuit of a common goal B protecting the environment for future generations by changing to energy efficient practices today.

Last year alone, Americans B with the help of ENERGY STAR B saved $6 billion dollars on their energy bills and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 12 million cars off the road.

ENERGY STAR also provides schools with an easy way to track and measure energy use in order to manage their energy more effectively and save money. These savings can be used to fund school repairs, hire new teachers, or purchase computers and text books.

EPA has developed the first ever energy performance rating that allows school buildings to compare their energy use against other schools. Top-performing schools are eligible to receive the ENERGY STAR label, which recognizes excellence in energy performance.

Philadelphia has rated all 264 of their schools for energy performance, and eleven of those schools, including Stephen Girard Elementary are being awarded the ENERGY STAR label.

You should be proud of the good work you have done B demonstrating to students and the community a strong commitment to environmental stewardship.

As a voluntary program, the success of ENERGY STAR depends on the leadership of schools such as those here in Philadelphia, that take the initiative to do what= s right for their school and their students.

Around the country, there are 147 school districts that are ENERGY STAR partners, and we are making good progress helping schools become more energy efficient.

However, with over 14,000 public school districts in America there is still much work to be done.

We need more schools like Stephen Girard that are willing to set a positive example of environmental leadership for other schools to follow.

Thank you for your efforts and congratulations to the Philadelphia School District.

At this time, I = d like to ask XX and XX (two students) to come forward and help me unveil the Energy Star plaque for Stephen Girard Elementary School.