Lexington school nationally recognized for sustainability initiatives
Lexington’s Rosa Parks Elementary school placed a major feather in their cap by recently being awarded an EBie Award for outstanding accomplishments in sustainability, green initiatives and improvements.
The Urban Green Council, the New York chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, honored the school with the award, the first in a nationwide juried competition that honors existing buildings which have been retrofitted for measures of resource conservation. Rosa Parks became the inaugural winner of the award in the “Reformed Gas Guzzler” category, recognizing the building with the highest percentage of energy savings. The school was honored along with buildings across the nation including New York City, Detroit and Dallas among others. In total, there were 10 categories included in the EBie Awards.
The winners of the EBie awards (“EB” being an acronym for existing buildings) are the “unsung heroes” in the field of green building, including owners, operators and consultants who have made significant strides in resource conservation in buildings that are at least five years old. Buildings undergoing operational improvements or retrofits (not gut renovations) were eligible for nomination. Winners were chosen from some 70 submitted entries from every region in the country.
Through setting air dampers, heat pumps and centralized pumps, as well as using computers known as “energy controllers” to turn off unused lights, Rosa Parks boasted drastic reductions of its energy usage in the 68,000-square-foot building. The initial energy audit that led to the implementation of these improvements showed that building usage schedule, outside air quantity, duct heaters, lighting levels and plug loads were areas that could be adequately tweaked to provide energy savings. This attention to detail paid measurable dividends, as the school’s Energy Star score rose to 86 points and the school saved 47 percent more energy.
The EBies are entirely based upon quantitative improvements in performance and in the case with Rosa Parks Elementary, the numbers proved staggering. Much of this recognition can be attributed to the students themselves and their dedication to saving energy; savings that ultimately engendered financial gains.
“Our kids set a goal of saving $10,000. Once we got into the project, they continued to push for more and more initiatives, and our end result was a savings of over $52,000,” said Rosa Park Principal Leslie Thomas. “What a way to teach our future generations the importance of sustainability.”