San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

July 14th, 2010
Hays CISD schools receive Energy Star

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A dozen Hays CISD campuses were awarded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star.

STAFF REPORT

A dozen schools in Hays CISD were recently awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star in recognition of their energy efficiency.

The campuses included Academy High School, Blanco Vista Elementary School, Buda Elementary School, Camino Real Elementary School, Dahlstrom Middle School, Fuentes Elementary School, Hays High School, Kyle Elementary School, Negley Elementary School, Lehman High School, Science Hall Elementary School and Wallace Middle School.

Campuses and commercial buildings must rate in the top 25 percent of facilities in the nation for energy efficiency to qualify for the Energy Star. Those buildings use an average of 40 percent less energy than typical building and release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

“We are pleased to accept EPA’s Energy Star in recognition of our energy efficiency efforts,” said R.C. Herrin, Hays CISD executive director of maintenance and operations. “Through this achievement, we have demonstrated our commitment to environmental stewardship, while lowering our energy costs.”

Hays CISD began energy management practices in 2003 at a number of campuses. Efforts included the commission of standardized direct digital controls, the replacement of inefficient heat pumps, cooling towers and heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) units, and the installation of motion sensors for lighting. Other improvements involved the hiring of “coil cleaners,” the purchase of a thermal imaging camera to detect HVAC duct leaks and water intrusion and programmable thermostats on all portable classroom buildings.

“During the six years of the energy management program, we have repurposed $2.5 million,” said Herrin.

The savings were repurposed with 10 percent returning to the campuses and 15 percent being placed in the district’s fund balance to offset future electricity rate increases. Twenty-five percent of the funds went to replacement for maintenance and operations vehicles, with 25 percent also going toward hiring new personnel for energy management and 25 percent allotted for future energy management projects.

Energy management and savings were included in Hays CISD’s strategic five-year plan, which involves several proposals for further energy efficiencies and states, “We will infuse instruction with environmental stewardship and integrate sound environmental practices into facility design, construction and operation.”

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