The Environmental Protection Agency has recognized the Lake Stevens School District with its “Energy Star Leader” Award for building energy efficiency. The district was one of four school districts in Washington state honored for improving building efficiency by at least 10 percent throughout its facilities. Snohomish County Public Utility District has worked with the Lake Stevens School District on a broad range of energy efficiency projects for several years.
In the past two years alone, the school district has completed 23 energy-efficiency projects in 16 facilities, which saves the district nearly $50,000 annually. Projects have included lighting upgrades, improvements to heating and ventilation systems and installation of energy-saving controls. The district has been assisted by Energy Education, Inc., which works with schools, higher education institutions and churches to achieve energy savings.
“We applaud Lake Stevens School District for its commitment to energy efficiency and sustainable business practices,” said PUD Assistant General Manager of Customer & Energy Services Jim West. “Its efforts help minimize the need for additional energy as our region grows, which in turn keeps energy costs in check and protects the environment for all of us.”
Superintendent of Lake Stevens Schools Amy Beth Cook added, “It’s important that we as leaders of our school district do all we can to conserve energy and teach our students through example the importance of energy conservation. Not only is it fiscally the correct approach, but more importantly it’s critical to minimize our impact on our environment for the future health of our planet.”
The school district also has participated in the PUD’s Energy Challenge, which sets a goal for businesses and residents of reducing their energy use by10 percent or more. Lake Stevens School District surpassed that target, reducing its energy use by more than 30 percent in 2011 compared to the previous year.
In addition, the school district recently installed a 4.5 kilowatt photovoltaic solar energy unit atop Lake Stevens High School’s Performing Arts Center. The project was made possible through the PUD’s Planet Power program, which supports solar demonstration projects in the community. As part of its solar project, the school district also worked with the PUD to develop educational curriculum for students on solar energy.
The PUD and local businesses partnered on more than 750 energy efficiency projects last year—everything from lighting upgrades to efficient refrigeration to heating and ventilation system improvements. Collectively, conservation efforts by the utility and its customers since the 1980s have resulted in approximately 100 average megawatts of savings – or enough to serve 75,000 customers.