A North Carolina school district is getting high marks in energy efficiency this semester. Thirteen buildings from Henderson County Public Schools have earned ENERGY STAR labels this fall, after a thorough review from Morrisville-based Southern Energy Management (SEM). Included in the project are a dozen elementary, middle and high schools, along with the district's Information Technology Center.
"This is an intentional move for our school district," said Bill Parker, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services. "Maintaining energy efficient facilities is part of our school district's Strategic Plan. We have two LEED-certified schools and saw the opportunity to pursue the ENERGY STAR label with our other facilities as a natural next step."
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Henderson County Public Schools (hendersoncountypublicschoolsnc.org) was one of only seven North Carolina school districts that had buildings earn ENERGY STAR labels in 2011. School district Energy Manager Dave Lyons helped prepare the buildings for the ENERGY STAR process, performing internal audits that led to lighting retrofits prior to SEM's review. He also helped get individual principals involved in reducing their school's energy usage.
The verification process from SEM (southern-energy.com) involved a review of buildings' energy usage, after which the results were put through the EPA's Portfolio Manager, producing a Statement of Energy Performance. One of SEM's Professional Engineers gave each building a final inspection to make sure it conformed to the EPA's strict guidelines.
"Working with Henderson County Schools was a treat. We're not just teaching students the importance of sustainability, we're showing them how to achieve it," said SEM building science engineer Meghan McDermott. "Each of these buildings now meets high standards for efficiency, air quality, comfort and lighting. It's something the students should be proud of."
The ENERGY STAR program for buildings and plants differs from the more commonly recognized version for residential homes. The main distinction is that this type of verification involves existing buildings, rather than new construction.
Southern Energy Management conducted this work on behalf of Advanced Energy, a non-profit located in Raleigh, N.C. that focuses on energy efficiency solutions. Advanced Energy (advancedenergy.org) has worked with more than 40 school systems across the state of N.C. to benchmark energy performance, identify energy saving measures and promote energy awareness through programs such as the EPA ENERGY STAR program. This project is sponsored by Duke Energy, Progress Energy, North Carolina Electric Membership Co-Op, and Dominion NC Power and the electric ratepayers of North Carolina.
About Henderson County Public Schools
Henderson County is located in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. The Henderson County Public Schools Administrative Office is located on 414 Fourth Avenue West in the city of Hendersonville. Hendersonville is located approximately 20 miles from Asheville, North Carolina. The county of Henderson is called a typical mountain county, because it consists of these elements: mountain ranges, isolated peaks, a rolling plateau and level valley areas. Elevations range from 1400 feet near Bat Cave at the foot of the Blue Ridge, to 5000 feet on Little Pisgah. In 1993 Henderson County Schools merged with the Hendersonville City Schools to form the Henderson County Public Schools. The Henderson County Public Schools is now comprised of four school districts (East, Hendersonville, North, and West). The school district has a total of 23 schools - 13 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 4 high schools, 1 education center, and 1 early college high school. The student population has grown to approach 13,500. Teaching staff number over 900. With approximately 1800 employees, the Henderson County Public Schools is largest employer in Henderson County.
About Southern Energy Management
Southern Energy Management (southern-energy.com) is a North Carolina-based sustainable energy company offering energy efficiency, green building and turn-key solar services for homeowners, builders, companies, government and military clients across the country. A certified B Corp, SEM's mission is to have a measurable impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, and to build a sustainable triple-bottom-line company. SEM was founded in a living room in Raleigh in 2001, and now employs a team of more than 100 sustainable energy professionals. SEM is consistently recognized as an industry leader both locally and nationally, and is among a small handful of companies in the U.S. to earn the National Energy Star Partner of the Year award five times (in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011). SEM also received the City of Raleigh 2011 Environmental Stewardship Award and the 2010 Green Jobs Award from SJF Institute & Green For All.
About Advanced Energy
Advanced Energy (advancedenergy.org) is bringing energy efficiency solutions to your home, your workplace, the places you go and the vehicles you take to get there. As a Raleigh, N.C.-based non-profit, we work with utility partners, government, municipalities, businesses, academia and builders to help people focus on energy efficiency. While the majority of our work in delivering testing, training and consulting is centered in North Carolina, we have clients throughout the U.S. We provide high-quality solutions through a systems approach that includes non-energy benefits. In addition to industrial and commercial buildings, we also focus on program areas such as residential retrofit, new residential construction, motors and drives, renewable energy and plug-in electric transportation.